|© UNICEF video|
|Hundreds of damaged schools are being demolished so that reconstruction can take place.|
By Jane O'Brien
BANDA ACEH/NEW YORK, 31 May 2005 – UNICEF has completed the first step in rebuilding hundreds of Indonesian schools destroyed by December’s tsunami. Two hundred temporary schools are being set up in Aceh – one of the worst affected areas – and will be used until permanent classrooms have been constructed.
The cost of the project is $2.3 million. UNICEF is spending an additional $90 million to repair or rebuild 500 primary schools over the next three years. The International Organization for Migration is working with UNICEF to create buildings able to withstand earthquakes, using local materials and labour. The two organizations have signed a contract enabling work to go forward.
“We will rebuild schools and also be involved in the training of teachers,” said UNICEF Representative in Indonesia Gianfranco Rotigliano. “We will help them support children who have gone through such a tragedy as the one they had in Aceh. We will provide supplies for schools, like notebooks, textbooks and whatever is needed for all the schools we support.”
Shift system for 40,000 children
It is hoped that many temporary classrooms will be available in time for the new school year starting in July, and all temporary structures will be completed in the next couple of months.
“Tent classrooms have been a good temporary solution,” said Mr. Rotigliano. “With all that the children of Banda Aceh have been through, they will feel much more comfortable in these school buildings and they will have a better learning experience.”
Each building contains three classrooms. The total number of classrooms will be enough for the Ministry of National Education to operate a shift system for 40,000 children. UNICEF has already supplied enough teaching materials for almost half a million children throughout Aceh.
Some 38,644 students are missing or dead following the tsunami and around a third of all schools in the affected areas of Indonesia are damaged. But UNICEF and its partners have helped the majority of children who survived the tsunami to return to school.