Life Carries On For Tsunami Orphans of OI Worldwide

Banda Aceh, Indonesia. After much apprehension, our staff in Sumatera took the children to the beach as they had pleaded to do. We should not have worried – our laughing children frolicked in the ocean waves as if they had not lost their entire families to a giant wave only six months earlier. Our children around the world, who have suffered far too much for a lifetime, continue to teach us all lessons in putting the past behind us, moving forward despite obstacles, and embracing the future. Psychological support with full mental health access is an integral component of our child care.

A quiet cove on the western island of Indonesia
offers perfect holiday spot for our kids.
The joys of youth have been re-extended to our children.

International Team Continues to Build Aceh Campus (7/05)

In July 2005 I returned to Sumatera for the third time in several months.Telephone calls were made throughout the meeting, as each staff member carries a cell phone for voice and text messaging. The conversations batted across the office conference room/living room in English, Acehenese, French, Indonesian, and Spanish. Midwives from our Romm Family Community Health Clinic and handymen from our campus dropped by for their daily assignments. Our doctors and teachers dropped by to check in and get updates; our Romm Clinic was open and serving fifty villagers per day.

Four more children joined us in Rotary and Grodzins Houses within the next two weeks. We had to move quickly to place bunk beds in these homes to accommodate more children than we usually would due to the Tsunami emergency.

English Class students from the village share a game
before their lessons with our children in Aceh.
We continued to reach out to other NGOs assisting in the Tsunami crisis: the International Rescue Committee (IRC), UNICEF, Medicine du Monde,and an Indonesian NGO worked to provide us with Internet connection for our computer center. CNN Jakarta donated one of its used terminals.
After 5 am prayers, the boys gather for daily
house cleaning in Grodzins House at 6 am.

Interview with a Tsunami Orphan – The Story of Fahrul
Fahrul is a ten-year-old boy from a fishing village nine miles (15k) from the capital of Aceh who now lives in Grodzins House, OI Sumatera. After helping to break ground for Roosevelt island House, Fahrul told his story:

Fahrul, his parents, his sister, and his two brothers tried to outrun the wave, but all but he and his sister were washed away. Fahrul was carried three miles by the wave, was deposited on a mountaintop to be discovered two days later, at which point he was rescued and placed in an Indonesian government-run refugee camp. A very distant relative took his sister, but refused to take him.


Dr. Luigi and Dr. Bon Bon have opened Romm Health Clinic.

“I’m glad to have this new home that is clean and cool and comfortable,” Fahrul explained through a staff interpreter. “The refugee camp was really hot and we had canned sardines every day. Here we have great food. I love school… I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but maybe a farmer. My father was a fisherman,” Fahrul explained. “I would like to plant rice,” he added with a twinkle in his eye.

“I like my new home because I have many friends now,” he said. “I also like the color white because it is very clean,” he stated. “And I pray five times a day (like all children in Aceh do), although I cannot read Arabic yet,” Fahrul confessed with some embarrassment. Fahrul is now receiving medical attention because of his condition resulting from swallowing so much dirty Tsunami salt water. He completed the fourth grade on schedule, being driven to his original school from our orphanage every day, and now attends fifth grade at the local school.

Fahrul, who has lost most of his family in the Tsunami,
relaxes with a new friend.
Three of the girls from OI Sumatera
wearing the ubiquitous Islamic “jilbab.”

The children of OI Sumatera practice arts & crafts,
one of several after-school activities.

The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation ( There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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