Brave victim's story gives orphans hope

In a quiet street on the outskirts of Denpasar, the sound of laughing children echoes through a building where hope has risen from grief.

Colourful murals are painted across the walls and teenagers kick a football around the courtyard.

Alison Chester, the former Cottesloe clothing designer who founded the Jodie O'Shea orphanage, scoops up one of its youngest residents and gives him a hug.

Ten years ago tomorrow, in the chaotic wards of Bali's Sanglah Hospital, Ms Chester met the stranger who would inspire the orphanage that has rescued countless lives.

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It was just after 11pm on October 12 when Ms Chester heard the two bombs that ripped through the heart of Kuta from her Canggu home and was hysterical when she believed her two daughters and son-in-law were at a function just metres from the epicentre of a blast.

They were not. The person with their tickets had been caught in traffic so the group did not go.

"I broke down when I heard my daughter's voice . . . that she was OK," Ms Chester said.

"But I knew the situation was bad and I wanted to do something. At about four in the morning I called a friend who is a nurse and I said I think I should go into the hospital. She said 'it's really, really bad'."

In one ward was an Australian victim, 29-year-old Jodie O'Shea. Not knowing what else to do, Ms Chester comforted the badly burnt woman, holding her hand as she waited for treatment.

"I wouldn't have a clue how bad she was," Ms Chester said.

"I thought she would live. I called her mother in Australia for her and she asked me if she was OK. And I said 'yes'.

"They offered her pethidine and, even in all this pain, she said 'give it to them in the other beds . . . they need it more than me'."

Ms Chester stayed with Ms O'Shea that evening until she was put on the first emergency airlift to Perth. Ms O'Shea died at Royal Perth Hospital from her injuries three days later.

Three years later, after helping a group of disadvantaged Indonesian children, Ms Chester opened the orphanage in honour of the woman she had known for just a few hours but who she says changed her life.

In the back courtyard, a 19-year-old called Jenner, who was one of the first children to be taken in, said everyone knew the story of the person who inspired it.

"Sometimes her friends come here and they are crying when they see it," he said. "It is so sad.

"This place has helped so many kids. We come here because we want to be someone, we want to go to school, we want a job. This place lets us do that."

Jodie O'Shea Orphanage manager Aries Endriati with some of the children. Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian