By the end of September this year, teachers and children in the tsunami-hit areas of Indonesia in the Aceh province have access to 8 brand new fully-furnished and well-equipped elementary schools built under the EI-Novib Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme. And there will be 20 more to come.
After the tsunami disaster struck the area in December 2004, EI formed a partnership with Novib (Oxfam Netherlands) and initiated the Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme. The programme sets out to rebuild 28 elementary schools, provide teacher training and trauma-counselling courses, and give out scholarships to about 4000 pupils over a 2-year period.
So far, the implementation of the programme has been slow due to various external factors, but the progress made is definitely significant.
For example, the trauma-counselling courses have been implemented with huge success. Now, the trained personnel are able to offer counselling at school to both teachers and pupils, under the guidance of a psychologist.
Hundreds of children from 16 schools have submitted their application for the scholarship, which will also be extended to other schools outside the reconstruction plan of the Rehabilitation Programme.
The speediness of the school reconstruction progress is due to the diligence and hard work of local construction workers and material suppliers. It is the policy of the programme to engage local participation in the reconstruction process as much as possible to retain the identity of the local communities and sense of ownership.
However, the implementation of the Rehabilitation Programme has not been without obstacles. A major obstacle is that the housing reconstruction process has not been able to catch up with the school rebuilding, and that accounts for the low number of applications for the scholarship.
EI and Novib will continue to work on overcoming these issues and contribute through the implementation of the programme to the achievement of Education For All in the region.