Indonesia: global solidarity effort supporting educators affected by natural catastrophe

After the major earthquake off the coast of Central Sulawesi produced a tsunami that killed over 1,400 people, Education International has called for solidarity from its affiliate to help affected teachers.

“Education International (EI) is counting on your solidarity with brothers and sisters in Central Sulawesi,” wrote EI General Secretary David Edwardsin a letter dated5 October, World Teachers’ Day, and sent to all member organisations.

Education International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Office has been in contact with Dr. Unifah Rosyidi, the President of EI affiliate Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia (PGRI, Teachers’ Association of the Republic of Indonesia).

“[My union],PGRI, is currently collecting donations and [supplies] from its members, and preparing a group of volunteer teachers to do trauma counselling. The situation in Palu is still not stable. Commercial airplanes cannot fly in/out of Palu, phone connections also still not [operational], which makes it difficult to help the victims… We try to do our best to help the people of Palu,” Dr. Unifah said, describing ongoing relief efforts.

With EI support, PGRI is assessing the current situation and preparing to help educators in Central Sulawesi rebuild their lives. But, for now victims are struggling with meeting their most basic needs; obtaining clean water and food. Schools, mosques, and all government buildings are closed.

Dr. Unifah further explained that PGRI’s National Board is working together with the organisation’s local unions to set up a crisis centre: “We want it to be the centre of disaster relief activities with the following priorities:1) to gather facts and data about teachers, their families, students, and schools affected by the earthquake, 2) to distribute supplies and equipment, 3) to provide trauma counselling to teachers and students, 4) to enrol temporary teachers with experience teaching in emergency situations.”

PGRI has mobilised its membership around the country to raise funds and collect donations.‘We expect our efforts to make a difference for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, especially teachers and students,’ Dr. Unifah wrote.

You may send your solidarity and support messages to PGRI at pbpgri@pgri.or.id, with copies to Dr. Unifah at unifah@pgri.or.id.

If you wish to help PGRI with its rebuilding efforts, you can also make a financial contribution through EI’s special solidarity fund account:

Education International

ING Bank

24, Avenue Marnix

1000 Brussels

IBAN : BE05 3101 0061 7075

Swift : BBRUBEBB

With the indication UAA PGRI Central Sulawesi.

Background 

On 29 September, a major earthquake off the coast of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia generated a tsunami with waves of at least 3 meters high that battered the cities of Palu (population 380,000) and Donggala (population 300,000). According to news reports, over 1,400 people have lost their lives in the tragedy, but the toll is expected to rise. Local authorities and citizens are still searching the rubble of fallen buildings for survivors.

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