In August a new academic year has started for all schools in East Nusa Tenggara. Out of the 103 schools rebuilt by Happy Hearts so far, almost all reopened their doors for in classroom learning. Only 4 schools on the island of Flores remain closed and practice distant learning. Enrollment has gone up by 23%, but fell below pre pendemic years.
Many areas in East Nusa Tenggara are still battling the effects of the pandemic and its tight restrictions on schools and other educational facilities. Class hours are restricted to 2-4 hours per day and in some areas the students are devided into groups and shifting model. Novita Nggebu, an 8th grade student of SMP Amarasi in Kupang, Timor shares her hope for the new school year: "I’m happy I can go back to school, because during learning at home I cannot learn well and cannot meet the teacher every day, so very little I can learn. Hopefully the pandemic can be over soon so we can go back to normal". Like Novita most students felt bored and uninspired at home. While distant learning is challenging even in most developed countries, it's a barrier for many students in East Nusa Tenggara.
Bringing students back to a rebuilt Happy Hearts school where they face proper and spacious classrooms, with table and chairs for everyone to sit on, toilets with clean water facilities and adequate learning tools and books help these kids to be back on track and overcome the setbacks of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of the year we have completed 25 schools and 4 libraries in East Nusa Tenggara, with 5 more schools under construction. Thank you for your continuous support in providing a better quality of education in East Nusa Tenggara!
More than a year into the pandemic, while schools in urban areas are struggling on how to get students motivated in their Zoom classes, schools in East Nusa Tenggara are struggling with basic things that we sometimes take for granted. Mr. Joni, Principal of Tenau Public Elementary School in Kupang said, "Many teachers here don't even have handphones. Some parents have handphones but their children don't know how to use them."
Even with the lack of technology, Tenau Elementary continues to conduct distance learning or Pembelajaran Jarak Jauh (PJJ) by having meeting points in communities where students live. Since 90% of the students do not have access to online learning, every morning Tenau teachers spread out to the meeting points to teach small groups of students. Homework assignments, tests and exams are conducted in the small group setting.
As vaccinations are rolling out, more and more schools in East Nusa Tenggara are reopening. Students are getting temperature checks at the door and full classrooms are divided into 2 shifts to keep a safe distance. Mr. Joni sees a silver lining in the midst of all this, in which his students are now more independent as they realize that learning doesn't stop in school and they can learn from anywhere.
8 Schools Rebuilt Year to Date
Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms as well as Cyclone Seroja that struck East Indonesia hampered our school construction projects in the area for the first few months of 2021. We restarted our projects on the islands of Sumba, Flores and Timor as soon as weather conditions allowed in April.
This year to date we completed reconstruction of 8 schools in East Nusa Tenggara while 4 more schools and 1 library are in progress. In total we have rebuilt 82 schools in the province. Thank you for your continuous support! Together we can rebuild 200 schools and provide better quality of education for children in East Nusa Tenggara.
Hero of 2020: Ibu Hilde from Eforbia Preschool
This time last year, Mrs or Ibu Hilde, one of the teachers at Eforbia Preschool in Flores that we rebuilt in March 2019, had around 20 children in her classroom on a given day. Due to the pandemic, schools in the area had to close, were able to reopen and then closed again. Such learning disruption had not been easy for the students and it was not helped either by the lack of virtual learning technologies in Nusa Tenggara Timur.
Ibu Hilde and her colleagues helped ease the transition by visiting her students at their homes. She would coordinate a maximum of 5 students in a group and visit each group 3 times a week. Even though each group visit would only last an hour, Ibu Hilde was able to give her students lessons and sometimes homework. More importantly, her presence provided a sense of normalcy for her students and learning continuity especially in these uncertain times.
17 Schools Rebuilt!
2020 has definitely been a tough year for all of us. Nevertheless, we managed to rebuild 17 schools in East Nusa Tenggara: 5 in Flores, 5 in Sumba and 7 in Timor benefiting at least 1,400 students. A total of 74 schools in the region have been rebuilt so far, thanks to your continued support for the #iamchange campaign!
Through your generous support, we fully funded and recently completed the reconstruction of a school building for SDN Bambor in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.
SDN Bambor or Bambor Elementary School is a public school with 100 students located in Watu Wangka Village, West Manggarai District on the island of Flores in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The school did not have proper classrooms for learning. The walls were made out of bamboo that leaked during rainy season. The school was also lacking adequate furniture and sanitary facilities.
We started rebuilding Bambor Elementary School in early July, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, enthusiasm from the community helped accelerate the rebuilding process and it was completed at the end of August. The new school building now has 2 proper classrooms, equipped with furniture, 2 toilets, as well as educational tools. For the next 5 years, teachers, students and community members will also receive training including water, sanitation and hygiene, disaster risk reduction and school management.
In addition to Bambor Elementary School, we also completed 4 more school rebuilding in East Nusa Tenggara for a total of 68 rebuilt schools in the province.
Some schools in East Nusa Tenggara were reopened and then reclosed for safety reasons. It’s now a good time to rebuild more schools so children will be able to learn in a proper school building when they return. Thank you for your support!
To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Indonesian government temporarily closed all schools in East Nusa Tenggara since April this year. Flights and travels were restricted and therefore Happy Hearts Indonesia had not been able to rebuild schools with the pace that we had planned.
As schools are closed, we want to minimize the disruption to children’s education, especially those in remote areas where electronic teaching methods are scarce or non-existent. We therefore keep our libraries open for 2 hours a day, 3 days a week so children can pick up books and continue their learning activities at home. Books are then returned at community drop-offs that our library staff picks up twice a week. In addition to library books, we also equip students with at-home educational tools such as storytelling books, crayons, and stationery.
Our Happy Kids program – funded by monthly giving – has resumed its nutritious meals starting in May. Rebuilt schools with Happy Kids program deliver meals to students’ homes or meals can be picked up at the school 2 times a week so children can continue to receive healthy diet and strengthen their immune system.
To help prevent infections, our field team in East Nusa Tenggara has also provided training to teachers and parents on proper handwashing and other hygiene practices, making at-home disinfectant sprays using common cleaning household products as well as distributing masks and hand sanitizers. Our next training would be soap making that will not only be ongoing measures against coronavirus but can also create an income opportunity for the community.
Government restrictions on travel to some areas of East Nusa Tenggara have since loosened and we continued 1 school reconstruction in Sumba that is scheduled to finish in August. We will resume project activities in East Nusa Tenggara when restrictions are lifted.
Now more than ever, we count on you to continue supporting our efforts in East Nusa Tenggara. With your support, Happy Hearts Indonesia can ensure children and their families stay safe. Thank you.
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