Indonesia: Resolving Difficulties with Knowledge

Berlin/Palu, 26. September 2019

After a severe earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in September 2018, Johanniter  has helped affected communities with emergency assistance through local partner organisations. Subsequent activities focused on preventive measures and the return to normality for many families. One key element: learning.

Sariyah is actively involved in helping her community to learn more about prevention. ©Johanniter/Kakoensi

One year after the deadly earthquake that hit Central Sulawesi region in Indonesia, life has slowly gone back to normal.  However, the event on September 28 changed many people’s lives. Sariyah (52), a mother of five children and two grandchildren was at her coastal home in Talise/Palu, when she felt the earth shaking heavily. She managed to safe herself and her family from the imminent tsunami seconds after the earthquake. Since then, she and several members from her community have had to live in a makeshift shelter at a temporary camp that used to be a golf course away from her former house.

Sariyah is the leader of that camp, a job she had never imagined before. They had to face collective traumas, water and food shortages and blazing heat under plastic tents. In the camp, she met the team of INANTA, Johanniter´s local partner, who provided water supply facilities like clean water and water tanks. The service helped to fulfil their basic life needs. To Sariyah, not only the disaster has changed her life, but also the meetings with INANTA have transformed her life quality. She is actively involved with the CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation) program of INANTA as a trained facilitator of the hygiene promotion program for her community. She has gained basic, yet crucial knowledge on hygiene practices, health care and emergency response, too.

On August 19, Sariyah and her community moved to a better temporary shelter, built by the government with better water supply system provided by organisations like INANTA. She is still the community leader and continues facilitating the local community with knowledge about clean environment and disaster preparedness. “I hope that INANTA continues training us with knowledge about disaster management and hygiene promotion”, Sariyah said.
“INANTA helps to raise awareness among the community about disaster preparedness and how to take action during emergency response through trainings”, explains Ejodia Kakoensi, who accompanies the projects of Johanniter in Indonesia, underpinning the importance of continuous learning.

School-Kits for 2.000 Children

So it was comprehensible that also school-kits distributions were one of the two major activities of INANTA during the emergency response in Palu. There were 47 camps of displaced persons targeted in the three different affected districts Palu, Sigi and Donggala. The distribution started in January, when most students were preparing to start schooling in temporary schools. The school-kits reached 2000 students between the ages of 7 and 16 and included notebooks, drawing books, pens, rulers and erasers. “Both children and parents were relieved, because school-kits for them means hope for their future education, even though at that time school facilities have been in very poor conditions or totally damaged”, remembers Kakoensi. "The children take care of it and carry proudly the bag and the equipment to school every day till today.”

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