INDONESIA – West Sumatra Earthquake [en]

Padang Better World Program:

A Carnival to Celebrate a Year of Achievements

Reported by Kalyani KL Chew  30 November 2010

AMURT’s main focus for our Better World program has been to provide a prolonged and practical training program for Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers.  Over the course of 8 months, 56 teachers from 41 schools received training in song, dance and exercise, PAUD (non-formal ECD school) curriculum, daily & monthly teaching plans, teaching strategies, evaluation, school-related administration, teaching media, teaching ethics, arts and craft, child development psychology, character-building, story-telling to develop a love for reading, and teacher creativity to develop the child’s potential.

(Above left & centre:  Children’s competition and Teachers’ Competition.  Above right: Educational materials made from recycled materials.)

The program culminated in early November, starting with a 3 day carnival featuring children’s competitions, teachers’ competitions, a 3-day exhibition of creative teaching materials made by teachers and children, and a children’s parade.  More than 800 children and 150 teachers from 41 schools took part in these events held at Pantai Gondoria in Kota Pariaman.  This was the first such grand festival focused on early childhood education to be held in Pariaman, and the first joint-event combining the paprticipation of PAUDs and kindergartens from Kota Pariaman and Padang Pariaman.  In the parade, 600 ECD children in their colourful and creative costumes walked more than one kilometre through the streets and market of Kota Pariaman (Below left, centre & right).

(Above left and right:  The 3-day exhibition of craft and teaching materials made by the teachers and children attracted hundreds of visitors.)

Hundreds of people – teachers from more than 150 PAUDs and kindergartens, parents and other members of the public visited our exhibition.  All this, we are confident, has produced greater awareness of the importance and benefit of early childhood education.

The grand finale of the festivities came on 15 November, 2010 with the inauguration and handover of 21 ECD Centres built and renovated by AMURT.  This event was held in conjunction with the graduation ceremony of the 56 teachers who had participated in our teacher-training program.

(Above left:  The Inauguration & Handover Ceremony was officiated by the wife of the Mayor of Pariaman Town.  Above right: One of the 18 ECD schools newly constructed by AMURT.)


(Above left:  The Mayor of Kota Pariaman (2nd from left) officiated the Graduation Ceremony of the 56 ECD teachers who participated in AMURT’s Teachers-for-a-Better-World training program.)

AMURT is particularly appreciative of the full support of the Ibu Wali Kota (Mayor’s wife) of Pariaman Town who took a personal interest in the activities and helped us to obtain strong support from various departments of the Town Council and also the personal participation of the Mayor in the events.

From the outset, our Better World program enjoyed the support and cooperation of the local authorities of both Kota Pariaman Town and the District of Padang Pariaman. The latest example of such cooperation and coordination is the ease with which we have been able to coordinate with the local HIMPAUDI (Association of ECD Centres) to help set up and supervise study circles amongst the teachers in order to maximize the benefit they can get from the teaching reference materials (including encyclopedias) and educational CDs that we have provided them.  Other examples include the input of various government departments in conducting educational sessions for the benefit of the ECD children and their parents, eg. sessions on dental care (brushing teeth, good nutrition, etc) by the Health Department, on basic fire safety first from the Fire Brigade Department and  on road safety guidelines from the Traffic Police Department.

This close cooperation and coordination greatly facilitated AMURT’s work in reaching out to more teachers from more schools in more areas, and lays a good foundation for future work in promoting and developing Early Childhood Development in West Sumatra.

Better World Program, Padang, Indonesia:

Study Tour To Malaysia-5 November 2010

Report by Kalyanii KL Chew

The Study Tour to Malaysia is the final segment of AMURT’s Teachers-for-a-Better-World teacher-training program.  The team from Padang consisted of four selected teachers (two from Kota Pariaman and two from Padang Pariaman) plus our program manager and assistant children coordinator.  During the 7-day tour from 11-18 October 2010, the team visited 5 kindergartens and also managed to put in some sightseeing as well.  The kindergartens selected covered different teaching styles or methods in order to give the Padang teachers the opportunity to learn a range of different experiences.

Love, joyful learning, helpfulness & independence are part of the learning experience emphasized at Yog’Kidz

At Yog’Kidz Centre, our teachers learnt that neo-humanist education with its focus on love and a joyful learning experience enables each child to grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and allows him/her to develop his/her personal gift to the world. Our teachers were also impressed by the early training in helping with daily chores like serving food and washing dishes.  They also greatly appreciated learning about brain gym exercises which help to connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain and which are proven to help tremendously in the learning process.

At Kelip Kelip Kindergarten, our teachers appreciated how the children were encouraged to share with and help each other, and to freely express themselves through art.  They also observed the children using computer programs to learn English and a full-dress rehearsal for Kelip Kelip’s upcoming concert (all below).

At Peter & Jane Kindergarten, the custom-built school building itself was awe-inspiring, as were the large range of Montessori equipment in each classroom (below left & right).  Also impressive was the effort to include a few special-needs children into the school’s program.

At Iqan Islamic Montessori Preschool, Teacher Munira generously shared with our teachers further about the Montessori method with its emphasis on guiding each child to develop independence and to learn at his/her own individual learning pace (below left and right).

At each school we visited, our teachers delighted the children and host teachers alike with their rendition of Indonesian kindergarten songs performed with lively accompanying action (below).

Besides the kindergarten visits, our teachers were able to visit Malaysia’s splendid capital city, Putrajaya, the must-see Petronas Twin Towers (below right&left), and also the heart of the old city centre of Kuala Lumpur.

A visit to an Indian temple in the heart of Chinatown resulted in an unexpected treat to an Indian cultural dance.  Nearly everywhere they went, the Padang teachers were impressed by the general cleanliness and orderliness in Malaysia.

Another bonus was meeting the Montessori trainer of the teachers at Peter & Jane’s during our visit to the kindergarten who has since kindly volunteered to come over to Padang to conduct a 3-day training session for our teachers there for free!  The session is scheduled for later in December.  All in all, the study tour to Malaysia was a very educational experience for our teachers and assistant children coordinator, for all of whom this was the first trip outside Indonesia.  Certainly there will be much they have learnt to share with their colleagues back in Padang.

Children Program in Padang-Practical In-Situ Training of  Teachers – 21 December 2009

Recently, AMURT & AMURTEL brought in a trainer from Malaysia with 20years’ experience in early childhood education to provide in-situ training of teachers at our 3 Child Centres in West Sumatra.

Sister Usha Chang, who operates her own kindergarten in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, spend three weeks from 21 Nov – 10 Dec 2009 with our Children Program teachers and Children Coordinator.  Drawing from her wealth of experience, Usha was able to give practical advice and guidance questions ranging from classroom and children management to curriculum planning and implementation to interactive teaching techniques to creative play.  Her cheerful and friendly manner quickly warmed the hearts of the little children as well as the teachers.  Her respectful and discreet training style quickly won the acceptance of the teachers while her hands-on action-oriented demonstrations brought early childhood education theory to real life for the teachers yound and old.

At the end of her three-weeks training stint, all agreed that Usha’s visit had been an inspirational and educational experience that benefitted everyone involved in AMURT & AMURTEL’s Children Program.


Usha teaching the children about animals through an entertaining puppet sketch.

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Usha introduced the children to the latest educational toys to stimulate creativity and dexterity.  She also showed the teachers how to bring out the artistic genius in each and every child by providing them with bright  and colourful art materials and encouraging them to freely express their inner spirit.

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Usha’s teacher training format included discussion sessions followed by live demonstrations on how to implement various activities to develop the children’s body, mind and spirit.

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Usha showed how a fruit-kebab “cooking” class provides the opportunity to teach the children the names of different fruits, vitamins and good nutritional habits, introduce them to elementary kitchen skills (peeling and preparing fruits) and also give them practice in large and small hand movement and dexterity (which prepares little fingers for handwriting).  They also gain self-confidence and a sense of achievement.  Best of all, the class combines plenty of good fun with a very yummy ending!


Report submitted by Ac.Ragodbhasananda Avt.

Sister Kalyanii KL Chew

AMURT & AMURTEL Padang +62 751 498 219; +62 813 7500 3538

West Sumatra Earthquake Emergency Response Program – 14 November 2009

A 7.6Richter Scale earthquake struck West Sumatra province, Indonesia on 30 September 2009 at 5.45pm.  AMURT & AMURTEL went in and started a distribution program.  One of beneficiaries of this program is Ifel, 35, of Pasa Dama village in the district of Padang Pariaman, West Sumatra.

ifel label Photographs by Christian Jung

Ifel & son damaged houses

(Left) Ifel with son Razia stares into a daunting future.  (Right)  All three houses severely damaged.

As is the tradition with the local Minangkabau culture, Ifel, together with her husband and two small children live in her mother’s house with other relativies.  Adjoining their house are the houses of Ifel’s grandmother and uncle.  All are damaged beyond repair.  The 40 plus members of the extended family living in the three houses are now camped out in two temporary shelters in the compound, one for women and children, and the other for the menfolk.

A football match was going on at that very time of the earthquake and most of the villagers were in the field to support their team.  This probably explains why no deaths occurred despite the severity of building damage.  Nevertheless, the experience of the houses crashing down was a very frightening experience for all.  Ifel’s four-year old son, Razia, was so disturbed by the event that he now clings to his mother all the time.  For many weeks after the earthquake he wet his bed at night and suffered recurring nightmares.

She is a research assistant with a local NGO in Padang town, but given the precarious situation in the village, she does not have the peace of mind to leave her children in order to go to work in town.  Ifel is also worried that any aftershocks or new earthquake would send their unsafe houses tumbling down. This makes an already bad situation even worse because now she is no longer able to earn the much needed income.

makeshift bedroom extended family

More than 20 women and children from the extended family (above right) cram into this makeshift sleep area (above left) very night since the earthquake.

The family have no idea where they will find the necessary funds to rebuild their houses.  Ifel’s traumatized uncle is in denial and insists that his house does not need to be torn down.  Despite the heavy damage, he says that all it needs is some repair work.  Meanwhile, Ifel’s elderly father (below left) is in despair at the sight of his house in ruins.  He had poured so much money and energy into it.  Ifel’s mother (below right) keeps busy with the cooking lest she too falls into depression.

Ifel's father makeshift kitchen

Before she is able to attend to the multitude of problems confronting her, Ifel has to attend to the needs of her two young sons first of all.  To help them return to some form of normalcy, she started a play session at a nearby clearing.  Soon all the kids in the village were gathering there – it was good to hear the sound of children playing and laughing again.

But Ifel is also worried about the village children playing in the rubble of the earthquake all around the neighbourhood (below), unmindful of the dangers that may appear at any time.  She says there is dire need for a kindergarten and/or child centre in the neighbourhood to cater to the needs of the children.  She needs a place where she can leave her young children for a few hours, secure in the knowledge that they are in safe hands and happily occupied.  Only then will she be able to have the peace of mind to attend to the multitude of urgent tasks at hand in the aftermath of the earthquake that has so devastated the lives of her family and their neighbours.

It is to help folks like Ifel and her sons that AMURTEL has started conducting children programs that will operate from child-friendly spaces in their village neighbourhood.

children in rubble

Donations for our Padang relief and development operations can be sent to:

AMURT & ARMUTEL, Padang,  A/c No: 179679021, Bank Nagara Indonesia, (BNI) Padang Branch

Swiftcode: BNINIDJAPDG, Bank Address: JI. Praklamasi No. 45, Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia

For more information: Rajeshwar Mandal <> +62 812 75003538;

Kalyanii KL Chew <> +62 819 77537546