Islamic Relief monitors the cucumber crop at Ulul Albab boarding school in Indonesia

Poor children in Indonesia are benefitting from better places to live and learn, thanks to an Islamic Relief project which completed this earlier year.

Eleven orphanages and boarding schools in Aceh province – an area devastated by the tsunami of 2004 – received support as part of our post-disaster programme.

After completing repairs to the orphanages and schools, Islamic Relief enhanced their ability to maintain and improve their service by providing opportunities for them to generate an income.

Harvesting much-needed funds at Ulul Albab school

Thirty poor children board at Ulul Albab school, in Gue village. The school offers formal and Islamic education and was struggling to meet the rising demand for its services.

School staff water the chili crop at Ulul Albab boarding school, Indonesia

School staff water the chili crop at Ulul Albab boarding school, Indonesia

“The number of children is increasing and we are finding it difficult to provide them adequate school supplies and meals,” said the school’s coordinating executive, Mr Azhar, last year. “We have adequate land but we have neither the skills nor the resources to use the additional space.”

Islamic Relief worked with Ulul Albab to identify opportunities for the school to increase its income. Staff received training in duck-rearing and vegetable production. Islamic Relief also provided technical and financial assistance to prepare vegetable plots and install a duck shed. We started the school off with seeds, fertiliser, duck feed and a flock of 600 ducklings.

The school’s first lettuce crop raised IDR 1.65 million (USD 165) and the first mature ducks sold generated IDR 15 million (USD 1,500). The profit helped the school meet its running costs, and to purchase the things they needed to carry on with their enterprise.

A well was installed at the school, which now supports crops including water melon, chilies, lettuce, onions and cucumbers – which are expected to be particularly in demand this Ramadan.

 “Our target is to harvest the cucumber during Ramadan, because during Ramadan, the demand for cucumber is very high. People in Aceh commonly use cucumbers during sahoor (breakfast).”

Ulul Albab has now also established fishponds, which will be used to feed the children – with any surplus sold in the market.

“[Islamic Relief] have equipped us with the skills and means to serve our children better,” added Mr Azhar.

Nurturing success in Aceh Besar

During the year that Islamic Relief worked with the boarding schools and orphanages in Aceh Besar, seven facilities established fishponds – boasting a combined stock of 175,000 fish. Altogether, aquaculture activities alone generated an estimated IDR 211 million (USD 18,510). The two schools that opted to produce vegetables generated IDR 1.5 million  from their first crop alone.

District governments elsewhere in Indonesia have since urged Islamic Relief – which has been working in Indonesia since 2000 – to deliver the scheme in other areas.