Reflecting on Banda Aceh, 7 years later

By December 30, 2011Uncategorized

As the eve of the New Year nears, magazines and newspapers often take this time to highlight “The Best-of-2011,”  “What’s in and what’s out for 2012” and “The Year in Photos.” The reports are engaging and provocative, a montage of the year in news – a moment to reflect on the year gone by.

Yesterday, a colleague was listening to a news report on NPR that prompted an office-wide moment of reflection: Aceh Marks 7 Years Since Indian Ocean Earthquake, Tsunami.

Travis, a Rubicon associate, and his wife arriving in Banda Aceh

Seven years ago, in response to communications expressing concern from schools around the world, and the desire from Rubicon staff members to help, the Rubicon Educational Foundation formed. In the spring of 2005, the Rubicon Foundation sponsored a fact-finding mission to Banda Aceh on the Island of Sumatra, Malaysia.

In Calang, one of the hardest hit areas, 90% of all teachers perished as a result of the tsunami disaster. While World Vision contributed to the region’s educational efforts through support in building new schools, the need for teacher training and professional development was identified as a compelling need.

In partnership with the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), the Rubicon Educational Foundation provided funding for professional development for the “Leadership in Education Program” serving teachers and administrators from Banda Aceh.

Post tsunami, students raise their hands to signify the loss of a loved one.

As we remember the educators, students and communities of Banda Aceh this year, we wanted to share the good news coming from the region. One report from the Jakarta Globe, “Aceh Commemorates 7-Year Anniversary of Tsunami With Education,” highlights a program from Mawardy Nurdin, the mayor of Banda Aceh. The mayor launched an awareness campaign, which is called “Schools Ready for Disaster Festival,” at the Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center in Meuraxa subdistrict.

We look forward to expanding our outreach and initiatives with the Rubicon Educational Foundation in 2012 – and as we reflect on the eve of the coming New Year, we give thanks to all those we have worked with over the past seven years and eagerly await collaborations with our new partners in 2012 as we continue efforts to support education in Haiti.