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Work starts on schools project in Aceh and North Sumatra

BANDA ACEH, September 29, 2005 – Workmen have begun to prepare the foundations of the first new UNICEF permanent schools in Aceh.

The builders started to dig the earth at the site of two new schools in Banda Aceh, on Thursday, September 29.  They will pack earth, stones, sand and cement for the foundation. Heavy equipment such as bulldozers and excavators will come later in the week.

These will be the first of up to 500 new permanent schools in the tsunami damaged provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra.

This $90 million project includes building up to 300 new schools and repairing 200 badly damaged ones and is expected to last at least three years.  

UNICEF’s Head of Banda Aceh office, Edouard Beigbeder, said: “This massive investment in the future of Aceh’s children – their education - shows how UNICEF aims to deliver aid that is of the highest quality to them and their communities.

“These schools have been designed in consultation with local people, parents and teachers. They offer facilities that are in many cases are better than those that existed before, and the duration of this project shows how UNICEF is here for the long term.”
The first schools to be built, Muhammadiyah 1 & 2, in Merduati, Banda Aceh, will each have six classrooms. After consultation with the local community, their shared facilities will include: A library, laboratory, multi-purpose hall, canteen and sports court.

They will also be ‘child-friendly’. By that UNICEF means each school will have safe drinking water, separate toilets for boys and girls and access for the disabled.
Other features of these schools include:

  • All the construction timber is from renewable sources.
  • Open spaces are landscaped, including play areas.
  • Better hygiene will be promoted by providing basins for washing hands. 

These two schools alone are costing in total, around $450,000. UNICEF has contracted a sister United Nations organisation, the United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS), to build all the schools on its behalf.

UNOPS is to use a fast-track building approach on Muhammadiyah 1 & 2, accelerating the building work. Normally, it takes about six months to build such schools.

This school building programme is distinct from that of UNICEF’s project to build 200 temporary schools in Aceh and North Sumatra. This scheme started earlier in the year and is already being rolled out across the tsunami-hit areas.

For more information contact:

Mervyn Fletcher, UNICEF communications officer, + 62 811 987296
Lely Djuhari, UNICEF communications officer, + 62 811 802338







23 September 2005:
UNICEF staff in Banda Aceh take the listener on a tour of sites where UNICEF is helping to rebuild children’s lives and communities.

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