Indonesian Tsunami Survivors Get Scholarships

Life is smiling again to 923 high school students and 17 university students in Indonesia who survived the tsunami with scholarships to complete their education, The Jakarta Post reported on Saturday, February 4.

Indonesian Tsunami Survivors Get Scholarships

"We particularly asked the schools to carry out the assessments," said Eddy F. Henry, the Sampoerna Foundation program director.

High school students will receive Rp 225,000 through bank transfers every three months.

"The amounts for each university student will range from Rp 50 million (US$5,263) to Rp 55 million," said Eddy, adding students will send education bills to the Sampoerna Foundation for reimbursement.

The scholarships are being offered by the US-based Freeman Foundation, which is also allocating $1 million to rebuild five schools destroyed by the tsunami and provide textbooks to students.

Giant walls of water, unleashed by a 9.3 magnitude earthquake, the world's biggest quake in 40 years, hit south Asian countries on December 26, 2004, killing at least 220,000 people, driving almost two million people homeless and causing economic damage and unprecedented devastation.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, was the worst hit, with around 168,000 dead or missing.

The government estimated that 35,000 children have been made homeless, orphaned or separated from their parents in hard-hit Aceh province, where Muslims make up 98 percent of the population.

New hope

The scholarships give new hopes to the students who have lost their families during the disaster and have no financial means to continue their education.

"I still can't believe that I will get to continue my studies until I finish high school, and for free," said Ilham, a freshman at Peukan Bada High School who lost all family members to the tsunami.

His dreams to complete schooling were rekindled after winning the scholarship.

"I'm only required to obtain a score of seven for every subject," said a jubilant Ilham.

As is the case with most of the high school recipients, the university students awarded the scholarship are mostly freshmen.

"The prerequisites in order to obtain the scholarship were quite demanding for university students, because we had to acquire a minimum of three points in our performance index. We are also not allowed to work part-time jobs," said Meliawati Melisa, 17.

Now in her first year at the Syiah Kuala University, she lost almost all family members in the catastrophe.

"The only surviving member of the family is my sister who I now live with," she told the Post.

"I'm very lucky to be able to complete my studies without paying."

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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