Updates from Lombok after the recent earthquakes

Last week, Duncan went to Lombok to visit our partner, Pelita Foundation. He saw the incredible work the Pelita team have been doing building Pop Up schools. Over 400 schools were destroyed by the recent earthquakes, leaving thousands of children without education or a safe place to be. Pelita Foundation is providing steel structures, school materials, and child-centered activities to create Pop Up schools as a one-to-two-year solution to get children back into school.

Students and teachers gather together for the opening of the first Pop Up School in the Pemenang district of Lombok.

“I was shocked and saddened to see how much devastation the earthquakes left in Northern Lombok. The experience allowed me to see first hand the incredible work that Pelita Foundation is doing in building temporary Pop Up schools. The Pop Up schools are a beacon of hope for the children of Lombok. I could see it in their faces and in their smiles. These Pop Up schools are their safe place right now. Classroom of Hope have a big job to do in supporting Pelita in their mission. Currently, we are working in the Pemenang district and after seeing the success of the Pop Up schools there, we now intend to scale the program to the other districts once we have completed our work in Pemenang.”   – Duncan Ward

Duncan visiting a local school destroyed by the earthquakes.
A school building destroyed by the earthquakes on Lombok.
The destruction caused by the earthquakes on Lombok.

Duncan was joined on the trip by Tudor Morrow, the General Manager of Old Man’s and long-term supporter of Classroom of Hope. Tudor was there to open the first official earthquake protected Pop Up school supported by Old Man’s.

Tudor stands in front of the first Pop Up School, donated by Old Man’s.

“My trip to Lombok was an eye-opening and humbling experience. No one could prepare for an earthquake of this magnitude and the devastation that occurred across such a vast area. Having the ceremony in the Pemenang district really drove home the impact of the earthquake and the effect on the villagers, especially the kids. I was brought to tears with the poems and honest truth told by the children of the school. I am proud to be a part of such a positive group doing an amazing job at keeping kids in school while all the time focusing on education, positivity, and health.” – Tudor Morrow

Tudor and Duncan were hosted by Claire and Denok. Claire is the Foundations Manager at Pelita and Denok is head of the board of directors for Pelita and also the Lombok Manager of Gugah Narani Indonesia(GNI), an NGO working closely with Pelita Foundation.

From left to right: Claire, Denok, Duncan, and Satria (Pelita volunteer) stand in front of the new Pop Up school in the Pemenang district.

We asked Claire to share what she would want those who have supported Pop Up schools in Lombok to know. She told us these three things:

1.  Education is truly valued on Lombok.

“Even after everything they have been through, the losses and the absolute devastation that these families and communities have faced, they are still making makeshift schools out of tarps and tents and finding whiteboards and any supplies that they can to deliver educational programs. That’s a testament to the value of education.” On a recent trip to visit one of these makeshift schools, Claire recalls seeing a whiteboard. “There was obviously a lesson being taught around emotions. The teachers had written different emotions on the board such as happy, sad, angry and scared. The emotions that had been circled were ‘happy’ and ‘hope’. For me, this was a symbolic moment. Under this hot, dirty tarp the teachers were not only teaching the children but also making sure to keep the spirit of their teachings positive and happy.”

2. Every penny counts.

“Every penny that is donated really, really makes a true difference. There is truly so much to do with the 16 schools we have in our district and we are now looking to move into new districts to build Pop Up Schools. The next district has 105 government schools, so every penny counts with so, so much to do.

3. The donors are making a real difference.

“The donors from Classroom of Hope and the donors of Pop Up schools are making a true on the ground impact and a difference to the lives of so many children and teachers. At the opening ceremony, one of the students read a beautiful poem about how the earthquakes came and she woke up to the dark. Her days were dark and everything had changed. And then Pelita had come and brought the light. Those were her direct words.  It brings me to tears even now. Just how these Pop Up schools are bringing the light to a dark situation and that everything that the donors are doing is making a true, true difference.”

Claire gathered with the students of the new Pop Up school.
Teamwork makes the dream work.

If you would like to support Pop Up schools on Lombok please visit https://classroomofhope.org/lombok-relief/ where 100% of all one-time online donations go directly to Pelita Foundation.

If you are interested in sponsoring your own Pop Up school, please contact us at join_us@classroomofhope.org