The Jodie O’Shea Orphanage, Care for Kids Bali, was established in 2005 to help children in need and was named in memory of Jodie O’Shea. Jodie was badly injured in the Bali bombing in 2002 and made a big impression on Alison Chester, who sat with Jodie until she could be stretchered out. Alison said, “Jodie, in the few hours I knew, her was one of the most selfless people I have ever met. In all her pain she was only considering other people, she never complained at any time and as we put her on the first stretcher to be evacuated out of Bali she looked up at me and said, “Thank you for being with me all this time.” Tragically, Jodie didn’t make it.
Alison vowed after that to work towards opening an orphanage in memory of Jodie O’Shea. She gathered a compassionate and determined group of people who combined their resources and skills to create a future for children who had very little. Building commenced in March 2005 and it opened four months later.
Currently there are 89 children in the care of the Orphanage, the youngest being nine months old. Alison is quick to point out that some are orphans and some are not, but that they come from all walks of life and very tragic circumstances.
“They stay with us until they are able to go into the work force and stand on their own two feet. We stay very close with the kids after they have left and still mentor them. We feel a responsibility
to keep a close eye on them just like normal parents. Words cannot express how wonderful it is to be able to give a child a chance in life and see them blossom from love and healthy nutrition. Once the children are out in the world as happy independent adults, this is the most rewarding gift of all,” Alison said.
The patron of the Orphanage is Australian actress Simone Buchanon. Simone said that the orphanage is an inspiration to her and that Alison has done an amazing job.
“Over the years, I have watched the building grow and many children come and go. It is a safe haven for many kids in desperate need. They are nurtured and given an education, so when they reach a certain age, they go out into the world with the skills they need to not only survive, but to thrive. Above all else, despite the children’s prior painful experiences, the place is a happy one.
“My favourite memory is, on one trip over, I took my friend and fellow actor Michala Banas over to meet the kids, and on our last day there we went out and bought them an electric keyboard and a guitar so they could all jam together. They LOVE music and a lot of them have beautiful singing voices. Every time you go there, you are serenaded with song. It is absolutely heartwarming. The other way I help out when I can’t be there is to continue to raise awareness about the place, enabling people everywhere to know what they can do to help out. It is an absolute honour to be the patron of
The Jodie O’Shea Orphanage”.
Visitors to Bali can do their bit, with Alison saying they greatly appreciate all the help they can get. “Our challenge is always food so we are extremely grateful to all the lovely Australian visitors who go food shopping, send clothes or even just visit and play with the children.”
How you can help – donate food, toiletries, basic essentials or money that can go towards education, wages and building maintenance.