Please note news articles about the Lontung School can be viewed under the 'news' section of this website.
Lontung School, Samosir Island, Sumatra
School: SD No. 173812 Lontung (SD = Sekolah Dasar – Elementary School)
Teachers: 8 (6 permanent & 2 honorary)
Lontung Elementary School is a 40 minute motorbike ride from Tuk-Tuk on Samosir Island. Only 10 minutes on a good road, 30 minutes of bone rattling potholes & rocks! Just after the school the road peters out to a small track with knee high grass growing in the middle. So this school is at the end of line in both geographical & funding/financial terms.
The school itself is in very bad condition apart from a fairly new annex that houses the staff room. The older part (the classrooms) needs repainting. The school yard is just a bare, dusty patch and would be much more inviting if some plants, flowers or trees were planted. Even some plants in pots would help.
The classrooms are very depressing with many desks & benches in need of repair. All classrooms would benefit from a coat of paint to brighten them up. There was little or no evidence of learning incentives such as posters, maps etc. on the walls.
The blackboards are so old that the chalk no longer rubs out properly & it is difficult for some children to read.
The school has no electricity. They have not been able to get power installed as their local government funding is only enough to pay the honorary teacher’s salaries. The cost of installing power is about 2 million rupiah or about $280.
The children come from very poor families and most are undernourished. Some don’t have uniforms & shoes that fit properly. Thirty of the children are from a village beyond where the road ends and come to school by boat (skippered by one of the kids) so they have a 2 hour journey to & from school. All of the children would benefit from a regular supply of vitamins and/or access to milk and a snack for morning recess, particularly the ones who have already had a long boat trip. The head teacher said that these children are falling asleep by morning recess. She also said that nearly all of the children don’t retain information well. This is most likely related to nutrition or lack thereof.
Obviously this school does not have a computer and they would really like to have one because one of the teachers is computer literate. This school is definitely the neediest we have come across so far and any money spent to improve it would be money well spent.
To summarise, the initial needs of this school are:
Repairs or replacement of furniture/blackboards etc
Learning aids (i.e. maps or globe, posters, books, etc)
Second-hand laptop and printer
Some sort of sports equipment as they currently have none
General enhancements to the working environment of the school (i.e. plants etc)