Education International
Education International

A wave of solidarity: Rebuilding education in Aceh

published 18 March 2010 updated 18 March 2010

Five years after the cataclysmic tsunami of December 2004, Education International is proud to release a video documentary on its most ambitious development cooperation project ever – to build and equip 35 schools in the devastated region of Aceh, Indonesia.

A wave of solidarity: Rebuilding education in Aceh offers a glimpse of how EI helped teachers and students alike to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and find hope for the future.

General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen and Aloysius Mathews, Chief Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific, travelled to Aceh just 10 days after the tsunami in response to an urgent plea from the local branch of EI’s affiliate, the Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia(PGRI).

The scenes of death and destruction they witnessed will remain seared in their minds forever. “It is something I’ll take to my grave,” Mathews said.

“For me, it became immediately clear we needed to provide more humanitarian assistance than we usually do,” van Leeuwen said. “The scale of this disaster was so immense that Education for All would never be achieved without significant help from outside.”

Looking back, van Leeuwen is proud of the post-tsunami project for a number of reasons. “We have shown that the teaching profession is capable, if necessary, of building schools, training teachers and assisting children. Teachers not only care – we can also make a difference!”

To see the video, please click on the players below or visit EI's Youtube channel.

Part 1

Part 2