Building for the future: A safe educational space in Indonesia    


Since 2016, there have been 15 earthquakes in Indonesia that have killed almost 14,000 people and left hundreds of thousands displaced.  

How Earthquakes Destroy Communities

Building a community after a natural disaster cannot be achieved in weeks and it usually takes a few years for an entire community to recover to the standard they previously lived upon. This is because earthquakes damage more than shelters and homes. They destroy commercial buildings, healthcare facilities, shopping centers, roads, pipes for clean water and all forms of public services.  


Three Years Since the Earthquake and the Community Remains in Need for Support 

The 2016 earthquake in Pidie Jadya resulted in 103 deaths and caused 8,000 fatalities. 2,000 homes and buildings, as well as 31 schools, were destroyed. Pidie Jadya has the second highest poverty rate, 16.73%, in Indonesia which is lower than the national average poverty rate of 10,68%. 

At the time of the earthquake, we provided a general emergency response that involved donors supplying the affected community with food and non-food items. Assistive devices were also given to disabled people. Over time as the society was trying to recover, we supported poor farmers and small traders through the provision of working capital. In the lead up to Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, we stayed beside the community and ensured they received Ramadan Food Packs and Qurbani meats.  

However direct aid, in the form of food and replenishments, is limiting when wanting to take a community out of poverty. There are currently tens of thousands of people within the province who are living without shelter and do not have access to clean water.  

We asked ourselves, is this community ready should another earthquake occur within the province?  

Since late 2018, we began supporting the building of a multipurpose safe-school facility in Pidie Jaya which is expected to launch in May 2019. 


What is This New Building About? 

The project will be supporting the building of a school, integrate WASH services and provide the community training in times of disaster. Through the establishment of a multipurpose building that encompasses teaching facilities and WASH services, the project improves the access of the community to infrastructure and knowledge. It will directly benefit students, teachers and employees.  

In the absence of disaster-preparedness training, a similar disaster in the future can result in a high number of causalities. The building will also educate beneficiaries on how to respond to future disasters. Awareness raising and training play a significant role in preparing communities in times of natural disasters.  

The project building is in line with the country priority in disaster risk reduction targeting for the school community. Islamic Relief aims to engage the local government to promote the safe school project educating them to best provide for their community.