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Free Classroom Play At Matahari Terbit Centre

How and where to give back. By Stephanie Mee.


On Bali there are approximately 60,000 disabled people, yet only a handful of schools that cater to people with physical and mental disabilities. Moreover, many of these schools are underfunded, lacking in resources, and running without professional expertise. The Matahari Terbit Center was created to fill this void and provide a safe and supportive classroom environment, free of charge, for children with physical disabilities living within the community. They also work to enhance the daily lives of children and families affected by physical and mental disabilities.

Located at Sunrise School Bali in Kerobokan, the Matahari Terbit Center is a non-profit organisation run by a group of volunteers who work independently from the school. They offer education and therapy for mentally and physically disabled children under the age of 16, and they aim to develop the children’s talents, self-confidence, and mobility and provide support systems to the families. In this way, they hope that the children can achieve greater self-respect and independence and eventually find working roles in the community.

The volunteers at Matahari Terbit work closely with professional colleagues from a wide range of disciplines to offer daily programs based on Conductive Education, a holistic style of therapy that takes into account an individual’s particular physical and intellectual needs. Conductive Education looks at the child as a unified whole where everything is interconnected including their environment, social organization and self awareness, and each program is designed to incorporate a variety of therapies along with education.

Therapies here include occupational therapy, which focuses on daily tasks to improve the well-being and independence of individuals with cognitive disabilities. The volunteers also involve the families so they can learn the best way to interact with their children. Physical therapy and aqua therapy are also available for individuals with mobility issues to improve function and relieve pain, and art therapy helps young people express themselves through creativity, which allows them to tap into their self-awareness and express emotions that may be difficult to put into words.

The activities at the Matahari Terbit Center are made possible by sponsorship, fundraising and donations from families who can afford it. Visit their website to find out how you can contribute either through donations or volunteering.