Indonesia

Indonesia: SurfAid Teams Up with RRI Radio

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Padang. Friday 27 November 2009: SurfAid International's Tampek Mangadu program team has collaborated with RRI radio station to create a series of school education sessions in regard to psychosocial activities, psycho-education and relaxation techniques.

The sessions are being conducted in various elementary schools throughout Padang city.

The first session took place at Padang Pasir's 05 elementary school on Wednesday 18 November and the entire session's proceedings were aired nationally, serving as a great way to raise awareness about the psychological and social effects of a disaster and how best to deal with such circumstances.

Principal Dr Hermalis noted that there had been substantial changes in attendance and behaviour among children, and their parents, since the 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck West Sumatra on 30 September 2009.

Twelve families who used to attend the school have moved their entire lives from Padang to other regions of Indonesia, citing the possibility of another large scale earthquake and tsunami as too big a risk to take.

"For one week students simply did not turn up to school, then we realized that one of the main reasons for this was that many of the parents were too worried about their children to allow them to return to school," Dr Hermalis said.

This of course is a reasonable and rational decision on behalf of parents considering the impacts the earthquake has had on their city - however the aim now is to reinstate a sense of normality and schedule so that children can continue to learn. To do this, students and parents need to understand the dynamics of post-disaster life and the stresses it may have on themselves and their children.

The sessions at selected schools run for three hours each with educational materials provided for the students.

SurfAid's psychology team is also conducting a weekly talkback radio show in conjunction with RRI Radio for the people of West Sumatra to air their issues and listen to the responses and advice provided by the SurfAid psychologists and the Indonesian public as a whole.

- Matt Hannon