Photos Duncan Macfarlane / Surfing World
The 2010 Mentawai tsunami wreaked a wide path of destruction in the island chain and wiped out the village of Masokut, on Sipora Island.
With the help of SurfAid, the Masokut community has since rebuilt their village on higher ground, safe from another tsunami. However the children, aged seven to 10, are being taught in a one-room timber shack that has plastic sheeting for walls.
After the tsunami, SurfAid’s Psychosocial Support Program team ran activities that helped the children return to a normal routine and reduce the effects of the trauma, and the school building was constructed as a temporary structure.
“To say the school is ‘basic’ is an understatement,” said SurfAid Schools Program manager Milton Brown. “The ‘desks’ are simple square pieces of timber for the children to write on but they have to sit on the floor, which is rough-hewn timber with cracks. In this cramped space, three dedicated teachers are doing their best to educate the future of Masokut.”
Brown, who hails from Sydney’s northern beaches, said $25,000 was needed to build a six-room school with toilets. “Avalon Lions Club generously donated $6,000 towards the project, retired Pittwater High teacher Evan Jeffrey organised a fundraiser at Avalon RSL that raised another $2,000, and Craig Finniss and Bobby Sox also raised $2,000, so we thank everyone who has contributed so far,” he said.
Former Pittwater Mayor Alex McTaggart, who was on a surf charter boat with fellow Avalon surfers when the tsunami struck during the night in October 2010, helped raise the Lions Club funds. ...read more