20 February 2009 The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that it has opened its 200th school in Indonesia’s Aceh-Nias region, which was devastated by the December 2004 tsunami.
“SDN 34” is the largest school constructed by UNICEF, with 22 classrooms and a capacity for more than 1,000 students, according to a news release issued by the agency. As is the case with all UNICEF-built schools, it is both earthquake-resistant and child-friendly.
The original buildings were destroyed and heavily damaged by the earthquake and tsunami which struck the province on 26 December, 2004. Since then, classes have been held in double shifts in the remaining parts of one of the schools until SDN 34 was completed in early February.
“With its child-friendly and earthquake-resistant schools, UNICEF has been setting new standards in reconstruction in Indonesia,” said Jean Metenier, Chief Field Officer of UNICEF Aceh and Nias.
“However, it is equally important that the schools are filled with motivated students, knowledgeable teachers and supported by local authorities and a lively and involved community,” he added.
Mr. Metenier encouraged all students, teachers, parents and school committees to take ownership of their school and ensure that generations of Acehnese children will receive quality education in an appropriate and safe learning environment.
UNICEF and its partners are planning to open nearly 150 more such schools in Indonesia by September.
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