After graduating college in 2010, midwestern girl Kat Vallera knew what she wanted to do – see the world – and she signed up to teach music at a Thai kindergarden.  Her carefully arranged plan didn’t go as expected when the school turned out to be a nightmare.  The teachers were completely strict to the point of being abusive.  “I watched helplessly as my Thai teacher took every ounce of fun and creativity out of music and replaced it with some kind of cut and dry exact science that these five-year-old children were expected to perfect, or else face punishment,” Kat says.

So she bailed on her contract and wandered Southeast Asia for 6 months until a series of opportunities led her to a village on the Indonesian island of Lombok.  Though they lived well below any standard definition of poverty, the community was rich in love, kindness, and acceptance.  It was at that village’s school and orphanage, upon hearing an 11-year-old girl’s compelling rendition of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, where Kat found the place she wanted to teach music.

Kat was immediately troubled by the condition of the school and orphanage; they are run down and in serious need of some tender loving care.  The children walk barefoot through dirt and garbage, and at night, they sleep on cold, concrete floors.  As for the curriculum, there is currently no music program beyond one acoustic guitar and a computer.

Kat founded Music for Lombok, our Charity of the Month, with the goal of constructing a new school in the village, filling it with instruments and supplies, and recruiting volunteer music and art teachers.  She and cofounder, Aussie Sarah Rutherford, are coming up with a lot of creative ways to raise funds for their new endeavor.  Check them out and see how you can help!

Kat with the kids in Lombok