An Irish Bar, a Casino and an Unforgettable Charity Night
Updated: Jan 4
On the tiny paradise island of Gili Trawangan, there’s a unique Irish Bar that makes a difference. The bar is formally known as Tír an nÓg, situated along the tropical waters of Lombok, Indonesia. Not only has The Irish Bar strayed far from its homeland, but it supports a group of people even further afield. These people are the East Lombok Orphans. Through hard work, community spirit and wild imaginations, Tír na nÓg puts on a charity casino night every year. The result is a magical night of fun all for a great cause.
Where is Gili Trawangan and what is Tír na nÓg Irish Bar?
Gili Trawangan is part of the famous three Gili Islands. It's located on the north-west corner of Lombok, Indonesia, only a stone's throw from Bali. One of Asia’s top tourist destinations, Gili T is best known for its scuba diving and vibrant nightlife.
Tír na nÓg is a popular bar on Gili Trawangan, catering to anyone who is young at heart. Founded by an Irish couple in 2000, it has developed into one of the best hangouts for expats and tourists alike.
How did Tír na nÓg become involved in this Lombok charity?
In 2012, the General Manager of Tír na nÓg, Rahmat Hidayat, approached the owners with an idea. He explained to them a project he was undertaking in his local village. He wanted to provide emotional, material and practical support to children in need. These children were either orphaned or had parents who were unable to work and provide for them.
Rahmat explained that he had been doing this work for 2 years already. He had ambitions to expand his reach to more villages and children. But these ambitions outstretched his financial capabilities to sustain such a move. Enter Tír na nÓg. The owners agreed to help support the orphan project through fundraising charity events. And the annual Tír na nÓg charity event was born.
What does the charity do exactly?
The charity, based in East Lombok, is called Khusnul Khotimah. It currently supports 67 children ranging from 6 to 15 years old.
It is best described as a community support program. Initially, it focused on children who were orphaned. It then extended its reach to include children whose parents were unable to work. It later went on to also provide support to elderly and disabled members of the community. That said, its primary focus is still the orphaned children.
The funds raised by the charity provides a range of essential living aids. From food, water and shelter to school fees, clothing and learning materials. The children are not housed in an actual orphanage. They are usually staying with family members or friends within the community. The goal is to support these families so they can cope with having an extra member in their household.
The charity is proud to have helped send 12 children (and counting) to get a college education. It hopes it can continue to do so through the support of fundraising events such as Tír na nÓg's Charity Casino Night.
How do you organize a charity event on Gili Trawangan?
The short answer is creativity, dedication and perseverance.
In fact, holding a charity event on Gili Trawangan can be a lot of fun. The starting point is deciding what kind of charity event you want to hold. Come up with a few ideas and talk through the pros and cons in brainstorming sessions with friends.
Be realistic. Remember what you do and do not have access to on a desert island. You might need to make decorations and other items from scratch. It can be a big undertaking, so consider this carefully.
Tír na nÓg usually chooses an idea that supplies the most fun for participants and the most money for the charity.
On an island like Gili Trawangan, there are also other considerations to be mindful of. It is important to remain respectful of local cultures and beliefs at all times. For example, gambling is illegal in this Muslim country. When The Irish hosts their "casino," it is important to stress that "bets" are actually donations. Patrons can win prizes for playing games, but no gambling takes place in order to abide by local rules.
Once you’ve selected an idea, run it past the head of the island or another relevant local authority. It's important for the idea to be accepted by anyone who has the power to cancel the event on the day. Getting approval in writing, well in advance, is a key proponent of success.
Next. decide on a theme and market the event like crazy. There are always new events happening on the island, so the more reminders the better. Get as many businesses on the island involved as possible. Get as many people on the island involved as possible. Get people excited about the event, and don’t let them forget the date.
Build a team to carry the event from its inception to the big day. You will need reliable people who care about the cause. Islanders love to go all out for a themed event, so if you put in the effort, they will too!
How does the charity event create money for the orphans?
The amount raised fully depends on the type of charity event. For Tír na nÓg, the annual Charity Casino Night is by far the most popular event. In turn, it ends up being the most lucrative for the charity.
The basic idea is that local businesses donate prizes for free. Prizes include luxury villa stays, dive courses and tabs at local bars & restaurants. On the night, when people enter “The Casino”, they exchange money for ‘casino tokens’. This money is a direct donation to the charity. Patrons can never win money or get their money back. They use the ‘casino tokens’ to play the casino games, win more tokens, and exchange these tokens for prizes.
These nights have been extremely popular and by far raised the most money for the orphan charity.
How can I donate to this Gili Trawangan charity?
That’s easy. You can contact Tír na nÓg for more information on ways to support the Lombok Orphan Foundation. Alternatively, you can donate directly to the charity bank account. These are the details:
Bank Name: Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI)
Bank Address: Jl. Langko, Dasan Agung Baru,
Selaparang, Kota Mataram, Lombok,
Nusa Tenggara Barat, 83113
Account Name: Lemb. Pemberdayaan Masy. dan Pem.
Account Number: 029436941
SWIFT Code: BNINIDJAMTA
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
The local business community on Gili Trawangan is full of kind and charitable people. Year after year, they have supported the Charity Casino Night since the first one in 2012. The charity event would not be possible without their generous prize donations. Khusnul Khotimah has a full list of businesses to thank them for their continued support.