Saturday morning and off to far-away
Sumatra for one the last KGI Teacher Workshops
for 2010. To get to Padang takes about 3 hours
flying time and with an hour or so in transit
in Jkt that makes it a 6 hour journey. I arrived
in Padang around 1pm local time to be met by members
of the Pariaman MGMP Organizing committee –
Pak Hendra Masdi, a long, long time friend of
KGI (since 1993 believe it or not) and Pak Hazairin
Head of the Committee. We were quickly on our
way to Pariaman for nasi ‘sek’ and
preparations for the workshop the following day.
We had nasi 'sek' just near the railway station
in Pariaman – that’s right, Pariaman
has a railway station and the railway line runs
between Pariaman and Padang. This is very unusual
in Sumatra and I was quite surprised by that.
The train runs several times a day and is especially
busy on weekends. So for nasi ‘sek’
– it was interesting and the food that came
with it was fantastic – hot and spicy and
After checking the venue of the workshop and
a tour around town it was time to take a rest
from travel and enjoy my hotel. However the travel
around Pariaman was quite disturbing as many of
the houses I saw were damaged by the earthquake
in 2009. The damage was till visible and in some
cases, people were still living in dangerous conditions.
Although some help has arrived since the day it
happened, a lot more help is needed to make people
Workshop day saw 85 teachers give up their day
off to attend the KGI Teacher Workshop. It was
an interesting workshop for me because many of
the participants had never met a bule before and
many of them had never attended a workshop either.
It took a while for some of the teachers to pay
attention and concentrate on the activities I
was giving them. Problems with the sound system
also slowed things up a bit. The rain poured down
outside while we all worked hard inside. The workshop
finally started at 10.00 and was all finished
At 15.30 about 60 high school students came to
meet me and to have a chat. The session started
slowly but it didn’t take long for the students
to really enjoy asking questions and interacting
with me. The questions were terrific ranging from
questions about IELTS and TOEFL, how to learn
English easily and the reasons why KGI is in Indonesia.
It was fun. All students who asked a question
received a KGI (t-shirt) Gift Pack and the remaining
students were given a standard KGI Gift Pack.
Everyone left smiling and happy and of course
lots of photos were snapped before departure.
On my way back to Padang we dropped into
visit Radio DHARAH in Pariaman. The station
broadcasts KGI every Sunday morning at 9.00
and we want to thank Pak Martin (far right) and his
team for their support in the area.
After meeting so many students and teachers
earlier in the day I now hope that many
students will now listen to KGI on Radio
Parah every week - each Sunday at 9.00am.
To remember the first anniversary of last year's devastating West Sumatra earthquake, Australia's Chargé d'Affaires to Indonesia, Paul Robilliard, visited Padang on September 27th. Kang Guru was there at SDN19 Padang to watch the festivities and to see the happy students and staff of that school being built with support from AusAID and US AID.
Their school was destroyed in the 2009 earthquake and now it is being rebuilt.
In Padang, Mr Robilliard and US Ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, visited one of 39 damaged schools, SDN 19 Padang, that the two countries are helping Indonesia rebuild. Together they signed a plaque at the school in Kampung Olo to mark their countries' commitment to help Indonesia's children return to formal education.
"Working together, our three countries can help about 6,500 children return to safer schools which will meet Indonesia's earthquake-resistant standards," Mr Robilliard said.
DHOM from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Mr Robilliard (far right) and US Ambassador
to Indonesia, Scot Marciel (signing)
together with the Governor of
West Sumatra (center), at the offcial signing ceremony at SDN19 Padang.
Mr Robilliard also visited Lubuk Kilangan village where he talked to locals who have been trained to build safer homes through a joint Indonesia-Australia public awareness campaign. The 'Earthquake Safe Housing' campaign taught communities across West Sumatra that building safer houses can save lives during an earthquake. Mr Robilliard also launched www.rumahamangempa.net the online version of the campaign. The new campaign will use popular social networking media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to post updated resources and information (see below).
Overall, Australia has provided $15 million in assistance following last year's 30 September earthquake, including support for emergency, recovery and reconstruction efforts.
Later in the day KGI attended the opening of the online services from www.rumahamangempa.net from the Australia Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reducation (AIFDR) - an AusAID project in Indonesia.
This new campaign will use popular social networking media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to post updated resources and information.
“By putting these materials online, many more Indonesians in vulnerable regions across the country and beyond West Sumatra will be able to access this important information,” Mr Robilliard said. “Australia is committed to helping Indonesia reduce the human and economic toll of natural disasters which are a serious risk here,” he said.
Australia will also train Indonesian builders to construct earthquake-resilient buildings through a regional training and logistics centre. This will include a competition challenging builders, engineers and architects to design houses using techniques that minimise damage in earthquakes. Australia is also rebuilding eight health facilities across Padang Pariaman district to help communities regain access to improved health services.