On 30 June, EI fulfilled its promise to the people of Aceh, Indonesia, that it would assist in the rebuilding of the public education system for thousands of children whose schools were destroyed by the devastating tsunami of December 2004.
In January 2005, EI set up a Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme in partnership with NOVIB (Oxfam Netherlands) to restore education to the areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Entitled "Rebuilding Aceh through Education For All," the goal of the programme in Indonesia was to rebuild 28 elementary schools that had been completely destroyed. Apart from the reconstruction of schools, it also aimed to:
- supply the necessary furniture and other requirement for the reconstructed schools;
- identify, select and provide in-service teacher training, especially in the new curricula;
- implement short-term courses to overcome shortage of teachers in specific subjects;
- provide scholarships to about 4,000 pupils over a period of 2 years;
- provide trauma counseling and specialised training for returning teachers to help themselves and their pupils.
The reconstruction work started in September 2005, and the last one of the 28 schools was completed in June 2007.
All 28 schools are fully equipped with new furniture and learning resources. They all have 6 classrooms, a multi-purpose hall, a headmaster's office, a staff room, a library, a computer room, a playground, and a prayer hall. The new schools are listed below:
- SDN 70 Gampong Jawa, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 38 Merduati, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 106 Rukoh, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 91 Dayah Gelumpang, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 102 Lamdingin, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 59 Bitai, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 83 Rukoh, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 95 Gampong Baru, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 98 Lampaseh, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 24 Lampinenung Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 35 Lampiriet, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 89 Asoeh Nanggroe, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 78 Blang Oi, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN 74 Alue Dayah Teungoh, Kota Banda Aceh
- SDN Limpok, Darusslam, Aceh Besar
- SDN Mon Singet, Aceh Besar
- SDN Krueng Kala, Lhoong, Aceh Besar
- SDN Layeun Leupung, Lhoong, Aceh Besar
- SDN Kulu, ASceh Besar
- SDN Geunteut, Aceh Besar
- SDN Glee Bruek, Aceh Besar
- SDN Umong Siribee, Aceh Besar
- SDN Al Kautsar, Langsa
- SDN Kwala Simpang Ulim, Aceh Timur
- SDN Babah Ie, Aceh Jaya
- SDN Ceunamprong, Aceh Jaya
- SDN Kuala Lambesoi, Aceh Jaya
- SDN Kuala Unga, Aceh Jaya
* SDN stands for "Sekolah Dasar Negeri", which means "National Elementary School" in Bahasa Indonesia.
Classes have already begun in 23 of the newly-built schools, the rest will be operational once the new academic year starts on 18 July 2007. 1474 pupils are now able to receive education again and 208 teachers are able to take up employment after a break of more than two years.
Programme organisers say that the speed of the reconstruction process is due to the diligence and hard work of local construction workers and suppliers. It is the policy of the programme to engage local workers in the reconstruction process to instil a sense of community ownership.
In-service Teacher Training
No society can provide quality education without highly trained teachers. To ensure that teachers are well-prepared when they return to their classrooms after an enforced absence of more than two years, the EI-NOVIB programme includes an in-service teacher training programme to help them get back on track. The programme trained 1,000 teachers in the current national curricula.
Many of the children who survived the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 lost one or both parents. Many of the teachers lost a spouse, a child or children. To help both teachers and children continue with their lives, the programme has put in place a trauma counselling course to enable teachers, as trained trauma counsellors, to better help their colleagues and pupils. A total of 338 teachers have undergone the course.
Scholarships for children in need
Thanks to the many generous donations from around the world, the EI-NOVIB programme is able to provide scholarships to 4,000 pupils over two years. So far 3,481 children (1,643 of them are girls) are now receiving scholarships.
EI would like to extend its gratitude to thousands of teachers, education workers, students and children who responded to the plight of the Acehnese victims of the tsunami. Without their generosity, all of this would not have been possible. The success of the programme is proof that solidarity within the global teaching community is not only strong - it works!