Islamic Relief has helped three Indonesian schools to better protect their students when disaster strikes.
In Aceh, an area that was devastated by the boxing-day tsunami of 2004, two elementary schools and one junior high benefitted.
“Our school is very close to the shore, and is frequently struck by earthquakes.”
Headmaster of IL Elementary School
Infrastructure vulnerabilities – including fragile roofs, unsafe bookcases, poor warning signage and broken roads – were addressed. In addition, teachers, students, parents and the wider community took part in training designed to prepare them for disasters, boost their ability to cope, and to work together to reduce the impact.
Early warning systems and training
The training developed clearly defined roles for everyone when a disaster strikes, as well as early warning systems and evacuation routes. Participants also received training on first aid and hundreds took part in emergency simulations.
Students learned essential lessons on what to do in a disaster through Disaster Preparedness School Festivals. These used drama, dance, art and other fun activities to emphasise important preparedness messages.
A special song served as a simple reminder:
Kalau ada gempa lindungi kepala
Kalau ada gempa masuk ke kolong meja
Kalau ada gempa hindari jendela kaca
Kalau ada gempa lari kelapangan terbuka.
If there is an earthquake protect your head
If there is an earthquake go under the table
If there is an earthquake avoid glass-windows
If there is an earthquake run into the open field.
It is expected that the programme, which completed in 2013, will be replicated in other vulnerable schools. It was funded by Islamic Relief Netherlands and delivered with our local partner, PKPU. Other agencies involved include the Aceh Provincial Red Cross and Tsunami Disaster Mitigation Research Center, as well as Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh.