Dayah Subulussalam Orphanage Shelter Project, Aceh
After 2004 tsunami, Hope 4 Our Children sent a team to conduct assessment and teacher trainings in Dayah Subulussalam. Member of the delegations: Faizah Badeges, Co-Founder and Board Member of Hope 4 Our Children; Afeefa Syeed, Hope 4 Our Children Board Member& Al Fatih Academy Director ; Fatima Salaam, Teacher, Al Fatih Academy; Nia Seale, Teacher, Al Fatih Academy.
Assessments of Dayah
The delegation concluded that based on numerous interviews and neighborhood visits, the children attending the orphanage boarding school come from highly impoverished families who are not able to afford easily the children's basic needs. The Dayah serves these low income families who are striving to maintain their cultural identity in the midst of many pressures that would have them compromise their values, heritage, and culture.
The objective of the visiting delegation was also to find out how orphans surviving the tsunami could be served at the Dayah. The surrounding area around Subulusalaam has a great many survivors of the tsunami, many of who did come to the Dayah for education and shelter. But because the structural facilities could not support so many more students, some of the tsunami affected children had to be transferred to other places, leaving only 12 tsunami victims. The delegation found that if the basic needs of water, housing, and staffing are met, the school can accommodate and serve more orphans from the surrounding area. As the infrastructure is improved, those children who otherwise would have to be placed in farther locations can be brought to Dayah Subulusalam.
The physical condition of Dayah
1. No toilets or running water. The dorms do not have running water, toilets. Children and teachers must walk to the river twice a day to fetch water with buckets. The toilets are shared outdoor facilities that also are accessible only by walking. The students have to go to the nearest river to bath.
2. Bunk beds. The bunk beds are only the frames, and children sleep on straw mats instead of mattresses.
3. Electricity. The dorms do not have electricity. The electricity bill is very high, and since the Dayah cannot afford to pay the total amount, the lights are dim in all places. Staff told delegation members that some children graduate the Dayah with worsened eyesight because of this.
4. No ceilings. The buildings that do exist are in need of repair for continued use. In the dorms as well as the classroom buildings, the ceilings are not finished. In the cafeteria, neither the ceilings nor the kitchen is completed.
Hope 4 Our Children refurbished and painted the four existing dorms, funded construction of running water system that can provide necessary water in the dorms and built a bathroom in each dorm. The project made an impact in the lives of 223 children (existing disadvantaged students/orphans as well as tsunami victims), 102 of them are live-in children. In addition, Hope 4 Our Children also provided mattresses for the live- in students in Dayah.
The current condition of the Dayah, both physically and financially, makes it almost impossible to accept more children. Therefore, Hope 4 Our Children is supporting Dayah to be self sufficient by disbursing a capital to start small business of cookie production, and mixed farming.
During the course of this year, Hope 4 Our Children has also allocated: funds to cover food for children for several months, books, towels and sarong and hygienic supplies for the children.
Before the interventions by Hope 4 Our Children, Dayah Subulussalam's students slept on the floor, they also had to walk to the closest river to bath. With more than half of live-in children live in poverty and fail to pay the Rp 180,000 tuition (equivalent to $20/month), it was very challenging for the administrators of the Dayah to run the boarding school with its nineteen fulltime teachers, four full time support and admin staff, and one principal.
Hope 4 Our Children allocated a total of $12,040 for Dayah Subulussalam (DS) boarding school. The fund was allocated for refurbishment and painting of the existing dorms, procurement of mattresses and beds, the construction of water system, public toilets and place for ablution, and seed money for home industry and mixed farming to provide capital for Dayah Subulussalam to be self sufficient.
In June 2006, Ina Nasution, Hope 4 Our Children's Co-Founder and Board of Trustee, visited DS to monitor the project. The progress was significant. The constructions of public toilets, water system, and place for ablution were completed. In addition the project to refurbish the dorms was completed already at the time of the visit, the ceilings were installed and painted, and each student was given mattress and bed.
Letters from Dayah Subulussalam Students
"....I want to convey my fond appreciation for your help. I am very touched by your concerns to help us in Aceh. I used to sleep on a straw mats, now I can sleep on a mattress.." - Jujuri
- Jujuri's letter to Hope 4 Our Children's donors. Jujuri was a Senior in High School at Dayah Subulussalam
"...I would like to thank you for raising funds for us. It gives me motivation to learn to make cookies for Dayah. May God give friends at Hope 4 Our Children and each donor with many blessings..."- Fatima
Fatima was a HS student at Dayah Subulussalam
"...I am very delighted for the opportunity to correspond with you and to express my sincere gratitude for Hope 4 Our Children's efforts and Al-Fatih students' efforts to help us at Dayah Subulussalam Boarding School. With your help, we felt tremendous improvement in our lives at the Dayah. Before the help of the organization (Hope 4 Our Children) and you, the buildings were falling apart and had no ceiling. We are very happy that the buildings were refurbished and now we have running water and bathrooms. Now we no longer have to walk to the river to bath and to have ablution. We also are grateful for the mattress. It feels comfortable to sleep on one" - Siti
Siti's letter to Al-Fatih's students thanking them for contributing funds to Dayah by the school's fundraising effort. Siti, a student at Dayah Subulussalam