Making a Difference During COVID in Bali: How You Can Help


When I learned to SCUBA dive in 1990, I expected to visit the underwater world and see creatures beyond my imagination. I never imagined that it would lead me to travel to the far corners of the earth and meet some of my favorite people. Thank you to PADI for all you do to save our seas and train torchbearers.

During COVID, the entire planet has experienced challenges and uncertainties. People have suffered with losses of all kinds. In Bali, Paul ‘Tosh’ Tanner who is territory director of PADI did not stand idly by. He and his family have made a difference and you can help too to make sure that families have food.

Photos and text below are from Paul Tanner.

As everyone knows, back in March 2020 the world locked down, and Bali closed its doors to the world. The British government recommend that all ex-pats should leave Bali and Indonesia. We have lived in Asia for 20 years and our children were both born in Asia with our youngest born in Bali. We knew this was going to be hard, and we have taken so much from Asia, and it’s given us an amazing life so we wanted to give back if we could.

Over the coming weeks people started to lose their jobs. Around 60% of people work in tourism on the island. The impact of no tourism on the island affects everything. Employees from outside of the tourism industry started to lose their jobs too. Banks, farms and even mechanics were effected from the shutdown of tourism.

70-80% of people have lost their jobs.

There isn’t any unemployment here, and the locals get very little help, if anything. Most have big families, and when one is unemployed, the others can help out. However, now entire families don’t have work and are unable to help out.

This has meant we have had our house broken into twice in the last year.

As a territory director of PADI, I am lucky to have a big network of people that have travelled and enjoyed diving in areas like Bali, and understand how everyone is impacted by this global pandemic especially on our island.

In April 2020, I first asked for donations. People who knew me could donate and have 100% of the money raised go-to food for locals.

During COVID, I have raised money, bought food from local farmers and supper stores and gave the food to either families I know or to a non-profit called SOS Children’s Village Bali

We now give to our local village which has thirty-three families, and 22 of the 33 do not have any employees in the family to support themselves. Once a month, we take the funds raised and give food to the local village.  

We also personally financially support 4 families but we do not use the donations for this. One of the issues about donating is knowing how much of the money you give, goes directly and completely to the people that need it.  We use the donations collected to purchase food. In this way, every dollar donated goes towards helping someone.

Donate via paypal directly to Paul “Tosh” Tanner

People from all over the world have been amazing. We have had people from Canada, USA, France, Spain, China, Thailand, Sweden, UK, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Dubai donate.

Thank you to Erica Wedepohl, PADI Territory Director – Caribbean and Latin America and greatest dive buddy ever, for introducing me to Paul “Tosh” Tanner to share what he is doing.

Erica Wedepohl, PADI Worldwide, Territory Director for Caribbean & Latin America underwater at Beaches Turks and Caicos
Erica Wedepohl, PADI Worldwide, Territory Director for Caribbean & Latin America underwater at Beaches Turks and Caicos


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Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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