State of the Art School Built by UMCOR Dedicated in Banda Aceh
BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA—One of the largest primary schools built in Banda Aceh since the tsunami in 2004 was dedicated June 30. Using United Methodist donations to the South Asia Advance, UMCOR constructed the state-of-the-art facility that is both earthquake- and flood-proof, and furnished it with school kits for students and school equipment, educational materials, and sports and playground equipment.
At the dedication ceremony Dr. Ramli Rasyid, the director of the city's Education Department, thanked UMCOR for "(opening) its heart to help the people of Banda Aceh after the tsunami." Attending the ceremony were UMCOR's Head of Mission in Indonesia, Dragan Tatic, representatives from the Education Department, officials from the Mayor's office, the Indonesian Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency, schoolchildren and teachers.
"The New Building Like the Day"
Terming the school "a significant contribution to the people," Dr. Rasyid said the new school and the previous building were like night and day. "The new building is like the day, which gives hope to students, teachers, and the people." Sekolah Dasar Negeri 3, the local name for the school, has classrooms and offices for some 540 students and 31 teachers and other staff.
The new two-story building replaces four schools that were destroyed or damaged when the tsunami's waters overwhelmed the community. Working in close coordination with the school community, the Education Department and the Banda Aceh government, UMCOR replaced the water supply system and revamped flood-prone drainage systems in addition to the school building itself. Construction took a year.
"We are so pleased, happy, proud and grateful to UMCOR for this new beautiful and safe school building, complete with the equipment needed for the education process," said Mrs. Munirah Ibrahim, headmaster. "We were happy to work with UMCOR because of their attention, understanding and coordination during the construction of this school," she said.
School Project Savings Reinvested in More Aceh Reconstruction
An open bidding process to select architects and contractors yielded savings, said Mr. Tatic of UMCOR. Those savings have been reallocated to additional UMCOR reconstruction projects in the province of Aceh, he said. Among projects now being implemented by UMCOR in Aceh Besar, Banda Aceh and Bireuen are reconstruction of 140 permanent houses and a community center.
UMCOR workers are also improving province infrastructure and capacity through construction of water and sanitation facilities at 21 schools and a district hospital along with training in hygiene and waste disposal in 31 schools and a district hospital. In its holistic approach, UMCOR is also offering business skills training for 450 entrepreneurs and distributing comprehensive income generation packages to 260 families.
UMCOR established its Indonesia office in 2005 to assist in tsunami and earthquake recovery. UMCOR has field offices in Banda Aceh and Bireuen District, Aceh Province. The agency's country headquarters is located in Medan, North Sumatra Province.