A region of Australia that suffered the most casualties in Bali's October 1, 2005 terror attack has placed itself at the forefront of efforts to help the people of Bali rebuild their lives.
The Newcastle-Lake Macquarie district – home to the families of three of the four Australians who died in the blast - has united to channel aid to groups in Bali, such as the John Fawcett Foundation, which provides medical and educational aid to the people of Bali.
The Mayor of Lake Macquarie City Council, Cr Greg Piper, visited Bali just two weeks after the attack. Flown in as a guest of Garuda Indonesia Airlines to deliver a shipment of medical instruments, including an autoclave, Piper also used the visit to discuss ongoing projects with the foundation's founder, Mr John Fawcett.
"The trip was undertaken on behalf of the whole district following a meeting hosted by Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate on October 6, involving his constituency, the Hunter Business Chamber and the generous people I represent. We agreed to explore opportunities to provide tangible and ongoing assistance to the people of Bali," said Cr Piper.
“Bali and the Balinese people are highly regarded by Australians generally and very much so by people within our local community. The strength of character of our community is displayed in the comments of many of those directly affected who, whilst struggling with their own losses, have expressed their sympathy for, and a desire to assist, the Balinese.
"Thanks to Garuda Indonesia providing the flight and transporting the equipment, we were able to initiate discussions on options for longer-term assistance that will hopefully follow on from our meetings, including those with Mr Fawcett and the Australian Consul General for Bali, Mr Brent Hall," Cr Piper added.
"The purpose of the initial visit was to explore opportunities to assist the Balinese/Indonesian community where they have had an added burden placed on them from the recent bombing. John Fawcett and I are confident that we will be able to provide support that will lead to an improved capacity for the community of Bali to improve their health care. The options will be further discussed next by Lord Mayor John Tate, Kyle Loades of the Hunter Business Chamber and myself (sic) along with others from the local community of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie."
"As well as these possibilities, a number of other contacts and options were discussed with various people. I hope that from this we may be able to also provide assistance to Balinese in starting and running a small business or by training them to improve their employment opportunities."
The John Fawcett Foundation has been involved in humanitarian projects in Bali for twelve years and has a record of successful projects.
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