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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 5, March 2006

Education International rebuilds schools in tsunami area

People who were displaced by the December 2004 tsunami have a persistent hope to see schools reopen. Schools where children are safe, and cared for by dedicated professionals. Education International (EI) is working to make this happen.

Thanks to the contribution of EI’s member organizations worldwide and the funds of Novib (Oxfam Netherlands), EI and the teachers’ unions in Sri Lanka and Aceh/Indonesia will rebuild 40 primary public schools.

However, progress is slow. It is slow for everyone, but especially for the thousands of children who are still sheltered in refugee camps. Bureaucracy, communication hiccups, lack of raw material, and absence of skilled workers—among other things—make the reconstruction process slow and difficult.

When EI and Novib attended the first brick-laying ceremony in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on September 12, government officials admitted that EI/Novib were actually the first to start any official public construction in Aceh.

The area of this first school, in Kampung Jawa, in the subdistrict of Kota Banda Aceh, is still desolate. However, the primary school will be located in the middle of a community area, which is to be rebuilt through other founding agencies.

All the schools will have six fully furnished classrooms. Each school will have a large library, a prayer house (musallah), separate toilets for female and male students, water and electricity, as well as a teachers’ room, or head’s room, and a caretaker’s house. The classrooms will have wooden desks and chairs, lights, and four ceiling fans. Each school will be equipped with six computers. The schools will have fencing and a bicycle shed.

In Sri Lanka progress has also begun. When the Sri Lanka Joint Teachers Unions’ Tsunami Relief Committee receive the green light for the master plans from the Ministry of Education, construction will begin.

On September 12, the foundation stone of the SD Negeri 70 primary school was laid in Kampung Jawa, in the subdistrict of Kota Banda Aceh.

– Dominique Marlet, Education International

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