Category Archives: Articles

Living Alone Means Being Social

I found an interesting opinion piece from The New York Times about living alone or being single doesn’t mean that you are lonely. And I found it somehow true and make sense.

Below is the article’s screenshot or you can visit the direct link here

Indonesian Schools Regroup After Volcano

Students of Cepogo at an activity camp during the weeks they were evacuated.

 April 29, 2011

The tiny room bore no resemblance to a classroom, except for the glow from a screen projector at the front, which lit up the faces of 40 children sitting on a green carpet.

Still, the students studied math, science, social studies, English, and their native language in the house owned by a relative of their teacher, Sri Nuryani—a house the Indonesian government had labeled a refugee camp.

Anyone within a 12-mile radius of Mount Merapi was evacuated following the volcano’s October 2010 eruption. The students in this class—which is part of EDC’s Decentralized Basic Education Program Objective 2 (DBE 2) in Cepogo, Indonesia—were among the 320,000 residents who found shelter and safety in the nearby city of Boyolali, on the Indonesian island of Java.

“The eruption paralyzed all community activities near Mount Merapi, including all activities in the schools,” said EDC’s Puji Wulandari T. Dewi.

The schools in Cepogo represent only a small portion of the hundreds of schools all over Indonesia that are part of EDC’s DBE 2 program. DBE 2 was created with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development to help improve the quality of teaching and learning in Indonesia.

In the weeks following the eruption, Nuryani did her best to keep her students calm, making do with what she had: a notebook and pencil for each student. In the afternoons, the students were taken to rest at a nearby church and, on certain mornings, to an activity camp to study and play before returning to the emergency classroom. DBE 2 teachers from other regions volunteered in the refugee camps, reading with the students and preparing meals.

On November 15, three weeks after entering the camps, those taking refuge in Boyolali went home. Once all signs of the ash plume had been cleared, the students from Cepogo returned to the classroom they remembered.

The article is taken from EDC website for DBE 2 Program funded by USAID:

a student's hand writing telling about volcano evacuation

Keep the Learning Spirits High in the Refugee Camps

Children laughing came from a room located in the front of a house belonging to a relative of a teacher in SD 2 Genting, Cepogo, Boyolali. The house which was located in Siswodipuran village, Boyolali City, was used as an activity post for a group of SD 2 Genting students. About 40 students gathered at this place, while the rest were scattered in different refugee camps in Boyolali City. Seeing the DBE 2 Team coming, the children welcomed us enthutiastically and shook our hands.

In this simple room with a green carpet, the children were engaged in a variety of learning  activities. This temporary classroom was complete with a laptop, and an In-focus  LCD projector provided by the teachers of SD 2 Genting. In this classroom, the children were very excited to be in school again and participating in the learning activities. They  started in the morning and continued trough to the afternoon. It was just like a normal class. They studied math, science, socialstudies, English and Indonesian.

”We tried to gathered our students here to have some activities during this emergency situation”, said Mrs. Sri Nuryani, a teacher of SD 2 Genting who was formerly a DBE 2 District Learning Coordinator in Boyolali.  At this place, Mrs. Nuryani and other teachers initiated an emergency class to help the children to overcome their fear of the dissaster, to entertain them and to invite them to do something positive.

”Miss, please take a look at my book”, said Rian, a forth grader thrusting his note book which was half full of his hand writing. Mrs. Sri Nuryani explained that in the first days in the refugees camp, together with other teachers, she distributed note books and pencils to their students. ”We asked them to tell the story about Mt. Merapi, then they learned about mountains in Indonesia,” she added.

In the afternoon, the children were drop off to the city and take a rest in the refugee camp located in  a Boyolali church. And in the morning, they were picked up to go to the activity Camp in Siswodipuran village to study and play.

”Miss, when will you come back here? Please do not forget to bring me toys!,” said the boys while the DBE 2 Team was leaving the house.

Written by Me for my project

Emergency Class in the Middle of Mt. Merapi Volcanic Eruption

Mont Merapi never sleeps and put the population in the surrounding areas in danger when it is erupting. On 5th November 2010, the Government of Indonesia announced a radius of 20 km as a danger area for Mt. Merapi’s volcanic eruption. The population on the slopes of Mt. Merapi, Sleman District in Yogyakarta Province, and Klaten and Boyolali Districts  in Central Java Province were evacuated to a safe area, outside the 20 km region. In this situation, the number of refugees has increased to 270.000 refugees scattered in different camps. The eruption paralyzed all community activities near Mt. Merapi, including the teaching and learning activities at schools.

DBE 2 Schools Closed in Cepogo, Boyolali

Teaching and learning activities in DBE 2 Elementary Schools and Madrasah Ibtidaiyah in Cepogo, Boyolali were closed due to the volcanic eruption. The whole population in Cepogo was evacuated to Boyolali city located less than 20 km from the top of Mt. Merapi. ”How can we teach while we are all busy thinking about how to save the people from the hot volcanic ashes”, said Mr. Sarono, one of DBE 2 MTTs in CRC Diponegoro, Cepogo.

The Cluster Resource Center (CRC) is one of the DBE 2 programs and supports teachers in the cluster to improve their professionalism through training and shared knowledge and information related to basic education. One of the CRCs is located in Cepogo district. Mr. Sarono added that the CRC Diponegoro was temporarily closed down. Until mid of November 2010, a half centimeter of vulcanic ashe still covered the CRC yard. The facilities in CRC Room such as books, low cost materials and computers was covered by a thin volcanic ashes that entered from the ventilation.

Different situation occured in other DBE 2 area in Ngemplak district, Boyolali. Ngemplak district is located far enough from Mt. Merapi, and the condition in the district was safe and under control. The vulcanic ash poured down on the Ngemplak sub-district but the population did not need to evacuate. Even so, the residents stay alert to the dangers of Mt. Merapi.

School activities were only conducted for half day,” said Mr. Suripto, former District Learning Coordinator for Boyolali and Grobogan. Meanwhile, the teaching and learning activities at DBE 2 schools in Jogonalan, North Klaten, Ceper and Karanganom district were still normal, although some schools maintain  half-day  sessions until 9 am local time.

Some teachers from DBE 2 schools became volunteers in the refugee camps. After school hours, Mrs. Dewi S. Retnawati, one of the teachers at Tangkisan Pos elementary school, Jogonalan, and other teachers, prepared meals for the refugees in Jogonalan Village Hall which was located 50 meters from Jogonalan Elementary School. The refugees in this camp came from Cangkringan  sub-district and surrounding areas.

Emergency Class

In order to help the children from Cepogo to overcome their traumatic experience with the Mt. Merapi disaster, Mrs. Rita Astuti former Distric Learning Coordinator for Klaten took the intiative to implement an emergency classroom in Kemalang Sub-District Office, Klaten., This sub-district was designated as one of the refugee camps in Klaten. She conducted DBE 2 Reading Program activities for the first, second and third graders. Eventhough the children in the camp came from different schools around Klaten, they enjoyed the lessons and making new friends with the local children.

Post Merapi Eruption

After spending three weeks in the refugee camp on 15 November 2010, the Government of Indonesia reduced the danger area. The people in Boyolali were able to return to their houses. Schools were reopened in Cepogo and are returning to normal operation.

Written by Me for my project

Sports, Alright! Washing Hands, Surely!

“Miss, miss.. Tomorrow’s the match, right? You know, I’m in the volleyball match!”, says Linda, a fifth grader of Halim Permai, Bandar Lampung enthusiastically at about 11 a.m. when the school hosted visitors. “Why don’t you take a picture of us! We now are training for tomorrow’s match,” shouts a small group of laughing children whilist playing on the football field of the school. Apparently, while waiting and resting prior to the Religious study class they use the break time to practice playing football.

The event taking place the next day, established in partnership by Mercy Corps’ Sumatra Healthy Schools Program (SHSP) with the Asian Soccer Academy (ASA) is a conclusion to the SHSP & ASA Behavior Change Activity pilot project. The project’s mission includes teaching elementary school students the correct technical skills for playing football (soccer) and volleyball. Additionally, the coaches along with teachers create both washing hands and drinking milk habits after the students participate in sports.

The three schools that were chosen in Lampung and are located next to one another include: SDN2, SD MIN and SDN1 Way Halim Permai. The pilot project took three months to finish and the football tournament among three schools is the concluding event. This project has also been established in both West Sumatra and Yogyakarta, Central Java.

The next day activities in the event are kicked off by a speech of Mr. Sudarno, Bandar Lampung city’s secretary and Lee Hawkins as a joint representative of Mercy Corps and Asian Soccer Academy. They then symbolically conclude the Behavior Change Activities by launching the opening of the Soccer tournament and Volleyball among these schools.

The hot weather does not seem to bother the students participating in the tournament. Those chosen to compete show off their skills in playing volleyball and football to make their school win the championship. Others who do not participate in the matches are excited to cheer on for their team. Additionally they can also participate in other games such as kicking the ball with a bottle, relay and quizzes about healthy behaviors. Those winning a penalty kick match with ASA’s Technical Director, Lee Hawkins – who acts as the goal keeper – will receive a new football and t-shirt.

“I’m excited to see the children so enthusiastic in participating in this tournament. They’re all a sport and there is no fight. We can clearly see here that they have increased their ability and skills to play football and volleyball,” Lee Hawkins says. He hopes that the activity will continue where students can have fun but learn and remember to wash their hands before and after playing.

“We are grateful to all the involved parties especially and excited that this activity increases the friendship formed among all three schools,” says Upik Dahlenawati, a headmistress of one of the participating schools.

“We hope to improve the health by conducting sport events such as football and volleyball. Along with Mercy Corps we have educated our students to make a habit to wash hands to prevent worms and live healthy,” says M. Yusuf the sports teacher of MIN Way Halim.

Written by Wulan Dewi for Sumatra Healthy Schools Program, Mercy Corps Indonesia

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