In 2005, Mike O’Leary had a international business that he built up over 25 years, which taken away from him in a back door take over under unfortunate circumstances, all factories have been since closed and his 230 local much loved staff lost their jobs, as I remember, and left him determined to do something better for the community and world. What was business’s loss was the environment’s and poor and at risk women’s gain as Mike decided to set up the R.O.L.E Foundation in Nusa Dua. ROLE literally stands for “Rivers, Oceans, Land and Ecology” but stands for much more than that, it stands for the preservation of Bali’s environment both on land and in the sea, it stands for the training of illiterate women up to employable standards, under their Bali WISE programs. He with his Role Team have built two education centers; one is a skills college for marginalised women and one is a Community Healthy Environment Skills Center on the rocky ground of the Bukit. They find solutions to waste management, practical farming, water management, recycling; find products that local impoverished people can turn into cash crops through permaculture and a whole load of other projects. What I like most about both aspects of the organization is that they actively invite school children to come and learn what they are doing, and to encourage them to adopt these practices. Mike’s plan is to build more education centers and provide skills for local communities for a healthy environment across Bali and the Indonesian Archipeligo.
Mike falls into a category I call ‘people who give more to Bali than they take‘ who are an extreme minority these days as most people come to take whatever they can through villa development, opening every sort of business, building endless rows of horrendous shop houses, that destroy the structure of Bali society and environment. What he is doing is commendable and absolutely necessary if Bali is to survive the current pillage, which shows no sign of diminishing.