Thursday 19 September 2019


People living in isolated island communities often don’t have access to many of the things we take for granted – infrastructure for sanitation and waste management, clean running water, electricity, health care and education.  After visiting one such community in remote West Papua in 2015 I launched the 100BooksProject in answer to a teachers’ request. 

“What do you need?” I asked, “How can I help you?”

“Books”.  The answer was so simple.  “It’s very difficult to teach the children to read and write without books”.

At that time there were no stories for the children to read, no resources for the teachers to work from.  Most of the children used chalk to practice writing on top of their wooden desks instead of notebooks and pencils.  It was such a humble request and seemed very easy to achieve, so I set to work, and I asked you all to help me.

I wanted to collect 100 books for that school.

Since that initial call for help I have received donations from all over the world.  Together we have distributed almost 4000 teaching resources, children’s books, activity books and notebooks to 8 different schools, education programs and learning centers in remote Indonesia. 

During this time I have had the opportunity to spend time with the teachers in these communities and I continue to ask the question – what do you need, how can I best help you?  The answers are invariably the same – wall charts, boards + markers, activity books.   The students need socks, underwear, shoelaces…

… and toothbrushes.

There is limited public health education in these isolated communities and as a result not much weight is given to hygiene, nutrition and preventative health measures.  Often the teachers are inspired to drive change but it’s not unusual for one teacher to be responsible for 90 students raging from grades 1-6 for weeks at a time.  Driving any kind of change is hard with those numbers.  But with support, change is possible.

We are so excited to launch our new fundraising effort, the #200ToothbrushesProject.

Our goal is to collect enough toothbrushes for all the students in Selpele + Salio village schools.  That’s 200 toothbrushes.  We intend to work very closely with the teachers in these schools to ensure the toothbrushes are cared for and used properly.  With the teachers ongoing support tooth brushing will become a routine part of the school day and the children will develop this important daily habit.

It is important for us to offer the students bamboo rather than plastic toothbrushes as a more sustainable option.  Both villages lack the infrastructure for waste management and there is no collection service to these remote islands.  Toothbrushes are a common item found on beach cleans ups around the world  and we would like to avoid contributing to this if possible. Bamboo is a fast growing renewable resource, and at the end of the toothbrushes life we will be able to compost it or use it in the garden. 

We have teamed up with Zero Waste Bali, a wonderful new store in Bali stocking lots of package free foods and sustainable grocery options.  Zero Waste Bali have very generously offered to donate a toothbrush for every 2 toothbrushes bought in their stores for this project.  You can purchase a toothbrush from any of their four locations – Kerobokan, Ubud, Canggu and Uluwatu.  At the time of purchase just let the team know that you want to support the 200 Toothbrushes Project and they will keep your donated toothbrush aside for us.

If you’re not in Bali and would like to purchase a toothbrush for a student in one of the villages out here you can make your donation to our Go Fund Me page and we will make the purchase for you.  Toothbrushes are AUD$4 each and you can make your donation HERE.

We are so excited to get this new initiative off the ground and hope to be able to deliver toothbrushes to the local children early next year.  

Will you help us?

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