On 30 June, with the delivery of the last chair to a new elementary school in Aceh, EI fulfilled its promise to the Acehnese people given two and a half years ago that it would rebuild 28 of its schools.
Back in January 2005, EI set up a Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme in partnership with NOVIB (Oxfam Netherlands) to restore education back in the areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004.
Entitled "Rebuilding Aceh through Education For All", the programme aimed to rebuild 28 elementary schools that had been completely destroyed. Apart from the recontruction of schools, it also aimed to:
- supply the necessary furniture and other requirement for the reconstructed schools;
- identify, select and provide teacher training, especially in the new curricula;
- implement short-term courses to overcome shortage of teachers in specific subjects;
- provide scholarships to about 4000 pupils over a period of 2 years;
- provide counseling and specialised training for returning teachers to help themselves and their pupils.
Today, all of the 28 schools have been completely rebuilt and refurbished.
The first school was completed as early as in April 2006. Within a short span of 15 months, all 28 elementary schools are completed. This remarkable achievement won the praise of aid organisations working in the region, and it is owed entirely to the diligence and hard work of EI coordinator Jerome Fernandez and chief regional coordinator Aloysius Mathews, as well as 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.
Classes have already begun in many of the newly-built schools. Achenese pupils are now able to receive education again and teachers are able to take up employment after a break of more than two years.
Below is a collage of all the 28 new schools.