Who We Are
WHAT IS ‘YAYASAN SOLE MEN INDONESIA’
Robert and Beat formed a registered charity foundation in Indonesia together with, as President, Pak Made Mangku Ariawan – Humanitarian, Politician, Hindu Priest and businessman and owner of Indo TV a local station in Bali. The Yayasan is supported by Rotary District 3400, incorporating ALL 81 clubs in Indonesia, who are joint signatories for the bank account. The foundation supports Poor and Homeless Children in Indonesia
as well as providing health education and education about how to revive their environment.
Robert has much previous experience of charity work having been involved for many years with many treks under his belt – across the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, in the mountains of Nepal, coast to coast through the rainforests in Costa Rica, Mount Mulanje – Africa’s 3rd highest mountain in Malawi, trekking to base camp Everest, Tibet. All to raise money for UK’s ‘Teenage Cancer Trust’.
He raised money and delivered aid from London to the war zone during the civil war in Yugoslavia and was injured in a terrorist attack by the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) while working on a BBC documentary exposing the drug barons and de-forestation issues in Peru.
MACCU PICCU ATTACK 1991
Robert Epstone rescued being lifted onto an army helicopter to hospital in Cusco, Peru during an early morning attack by the ‘Shining Path’ terrorists (‘Luminoso’) during filming of a BBC documentary, exposing them, drug barons and deforestation issues. The film was scheduled to be shown at the 1991 Earth Summit in Rio.
The terrorists had commandeered a train engine sending in down a narrow railway track, on the Maccu Piccu mountainside cliff edge, smashing head on into Robert’s small rail vehicle! Luckily for him and the rest of the survivors it didn’t force them over the edge down the ravine but forced the vehicle back along the track at high speed killing six of them ☹ The London Times reported Robert as being killed that day! He was later hospitalized in Miami and then in London, suffering broken ribs, severe damage to one leg, cuts and bruises, and loss of memory for several weeks, needing to walk on crutches for some months.
Spent 10 years in Shanghai, where he set up a volunteer teaching program at a school in Pudong for children of migrant workers.
Most recently moved to Bali and was voted ‘Rotarian of the Year’ in 2010 for creating a sustainable project for Rotary Club of Bali Seminyak in the form of 20 wells providing a sustainable supply of water, also fruit and vegetable gardens, for around 2,000 villagers in Tanarara, one of the poorest regions of Sumba island.
Beat Schmid de Gruneck
Swiss-born Beat lived in Lausanne until he was 20 yrs old when he joined the Swiss Merchant Marines for four years. He chartered sailing boats in the South of France for three years before moving to the West Indies where he chartered sailing and cargo boats all around the region. He retired to Bali in 2007.
Both SOLE MEN are members of SGI-BALI, a Buddhist Association for Peace, Culture and Education.
Pak Mangku Made Ariawan
Pak Mangku Made Ariawan a active Politician, passionate Priest and active Rotarian Member. Pak Made is actively involved in promoting Bali to the world and providing its people a better future.
Rotarian Frenchman Daniel and Balinese born wife Yatna Chieppa
Owners of http://www.balivillaserenity.com Both Daniel and Yatna (Lady Soles) are experienced yoga teachers and passionate environmentalists and dedicated Sole Men.
Lady Soles daughter Bambou Chieppa with parents and Australian friend Sole Man Tom
Shelley Epstone, wife of SOLEMAN Robert, is an experienced journalist, PR person working previously as head of PR for De Beers Europe, Vogue magazine and a number of top PR firms in UK. She was also cook to the British Ambassador for Israel and is a culinary expert much to the delight of her husband!
Sonia Gavriloff, artisan painter and co-ordinator for SOLE MEN in France and Switzerland.
About Don in his own words…
When I got the call to come and help out with this new adventure planned by R & B I was quite surprised with the challenge they put forth. To walk anywhere barefoot is a risk these days but with their determination, I saw the will was there to make SOLE MEN happen. I met these two lads at a Rotary meeting years ago, I have organized a unique charity event myself called the BALI RED DRESS RUN. Each year the money we raise is given to a project sponsored by Rotary Seminyak that helps support the eradication of leprosy in Bali. In my spare time I am an avid sports nut with over 1000 runs exerted at least 3 days a week running around the island of the Gods with the BALI HASH HOUSE HARRIERS. I have gained some useful insight of Bali and the challenge they face so I was able to help out with the mapping of the run and some logistics. It’s been a pleasure to be involved in helping out the people of this wonderful island.
After nearly 15 years I now call Bali my home, I have a landscape biz to run and share my time with my loving Balinese wife and our young and loving 5 year old son, who is a challenge all on his own…………..peace to with you all………….don havig
Jacqueline Sonnenberg, born in Switzerland, arrived in Bali in2005 and fell in love with the Island and its people. She is the developer of the website www.amazing-Bali.com and feels lucky to be a friend of Pak Made Ariawan and his family. She loves to help people to find their way around Bali and will now help promoting voluntary projects to help Balinese people.
Loves to be one of the SOLE LADIES – Marketing
Our Inspiration – Arthur Jones
The inspiration for our project came from Arthur Jones, Robert’s friend in Shanghai, currently going without shoes for a year and walking 1,000 miles across China as the longest barefoot journey in modern human history to raise money to buy books and libraries for under-financed schools and orphanages in the developing world.