Highlights - July 2020
Beach Clean Ups
Our team have been supporting Nikoi and Cempedak Islands and Seven Clean Seas to clean up the beaches along the east coast of Bintan Island. The weekly clean ups have removed several tons of waste from the environment, while raising awareness with the community about the impacts of improper waste disposal.
Learning with Bebe at Kebun Reja
Following one of the recent beach clean ups, some of The Island Foundation team went to meet with Bebe at Nikoi's Kebun Reja farm. Bebe took Halim, Dani, Wilda and Roni around the farm, explaining the principles of permaculture, composting and organic farming.
Bebe is supporting Teacher Dani to set up a learning farm at our Kelong Learning Centre. This will be our first small island learning farm - it is a pilot project to gauge engagement levels and community response, the results of which will inform our future decision making to improve our outdoor learning sessions.
MS Amlin, a long term donor and supporter of The Island Foundation, has generously donated S$15,000 to our COVID19 home learning program!
From all of us at The Island Foundation, thank you to MS Amlin - these funds will go far to improve home learning for our students and to provide support to their parents and communities.
TIF Webinar Series
The TIF Webinar Series continued in July with four great sessions! We explored issues of conservation and waste management, and delved into Suku Laut culture and traditional ecological knowledge for climate change mitigation and environmental protection.
All four sessions were led by early career Indonesian change makers and provided some great insights for our team, and some fantastic networks for our program.
How TIF is helping children learn during COVID19
The image at the top of this newsletter is of a makeshift charging station set up in Tenggel - it is powered by the solar panels of a small business. The station is for children to charge their parents' phones so they can access online learning and complete their school assignments - because, Tenggel has power for just four hours a day between 6pm and 10pm.
Tenggel's power situation is unique, but the barriers facing all of our students are common - not only do some families not own a smart phone, the majority have lost their incomes and lack the resources to keep their children engaged with learning during the year long school closures.
Students in Bintan have been hit hard by the COVID19 global crisis - school teachers are struggling to stay engaged with their students, and students are struggling to learn online because of the barriers noted above... as time goes on the risks continue to mount and carry the potential to impact children's lives forever, increasing their susceptibility to inequality.
Without intervention, students face low learning and psycho-social development outcomes, with the potential for many to drop out of the education system altogether to help support their families. For vulnerable children, by the time the schools reopen, it will be too late - having switched off school, they may never return.
To ensure no student is left behind, The Island Foundation is piloting COVID19 safe learning spaces with internet connection and computers for students to use during the day. The pilot is being carried out in Tenggel and Kelong and will be rolled out across our eight partner communities. We hope that the spaces will help students connect with online learning and their peers and thereby mitigate the increasing inequality facing children during the pandemic.
The safe learning spaces will complement the home learning packs that are being distributed weekly by The Island Foundation - the packs are based on our Learning for Sustainability curriculum, and promote practical and experiential learning that students can do using resources found at home, with literacy, numeracy and English language learning incorporated throughout.
The real impacts of COVID19 disruptions to learning are not clear yet, but it is widely accepted that missing a year of school and learning can have massive long term effects on children's lives.
Through our weekly home learning packs and the setting up of safe learning spaces, The Island Foundation is working tirelessly to mitigate the substantial risks to primary school age children living in Bintan's small island communities. Every child deserves a quality education.