Children have lost their homes, loved ones and sense of security after a series of deadly earthquakes and aftershocks have devastated parts of Indonesia’s Aceh province. The IKEA Foundation has given Save the Children an emergency grant of €100,000 so they can help children recover from the trauma and continue their educations, despite the damage to schools and homes.
The first earthquake—measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale—hit Aceh on 6 December, killing over 100 people and displacing thousands more. Since then, 73 aftershocks have damaged even more houses, leading many more families to flee for safety. The National Disaster Management Agency estimates that at least 65,000 people are affected, including 39,000 children.
Grappling with fear and trauma
Save the Children Indonesia’s humanitarian manager, Ronald Sianipar, said: “Today there will be children who won’t have safe homes to stay in, a school to go to or places to go and play safely. Children will be experiencing a community that is grappling with fear and uncertainty after having its life uprooted.
“We must also be aware of the psychological impact these events can cause. Aceh is still living with the trauma of the 2004 tsunami, and this earthquake will trigger strong and possibly dark memories among survivors of that event.”
How we are helping
With the IKEA Foundation’s grant, Save the Children Indonesia aims to ensure that children receive the psychological support they need as well as having access to educational facilities and a quality education.
Save the Children will use the grant to:
- provide psychological first aid for children
- train volunteers, first responders, teachers and other authorities in how to support traumatised children
- provide guidance and support to caregivers so they can help their children, deal with their own distress, and access the services they need
- assess the damage to schools and the work necessary to have schools ready to reopen in January
- ensure teachers can implement psychosocial support in schools
- procure school kits and help refurbish school infrastructure
- establish temporary learning spaces in coordination with local school authorities.
Julika Riegler of the IKEA Foundation said: ”It’s critical that we can quickly step in and help when children are faced with losing everything that creates stability, comfort and trust. Through our partnership with Save the Children, we can provide immediate support to children who have experienced trauma, helping them and their families find safety and get back on their feet.”