Update on Legok school and kindergarten, Ma’s Fly Free School, and rescue team

Legok school has now been running for 9 years, I am proud to say successfully. Most of our original students have found jobs, many have gone onto college to became teachers and office workers. The biggest accomplishment is the change of attitude of the parents, they now realize that education is important and that it gives the family long term security, it is the children’s responsibility to look after the parents in old ages as no social help from the government.

sport day
Sports day.

I was delighted on my arrival at the school. Five of the first Legok student boys come to visit me, all had good jobs – three were teachers, one in government office and one in police office, it was wonderful to see them confident and happy. (see more pictures of our successful students in the Gallery).

Sigit, one of our many successful students

The kindergarten has been running for 3 years and is now one of the best in the region, the children winning trophies for maths, poetry and sport. The teachers are dedicated and forward thinking.

legok flyfree kindy
Our kindergarten is a great success.

Ma’s Flyfree school has been running for 2 years teaching all ages from kindergarten to high school pupils, basic education and English classes as well as music, art and local games to develop creativity and confidence. Our aim is to improve this education centre by offering training in English, computer study and business management to senior students, We are offering a program especially for girls as parents still think girls don’t need education. Our program will include sewing classes, hairdressing, cooking and computers, giving them the knowledge to earn a living and help the family, live in the villages is hard for girls without education but this program we hope to improve their lives.

The Fly Free center is also the base for rescue team, who continually assist when flooding hits the area. On a regular basis, rescuing the children and older generation and taking them to higher ground to sleep in the mosque until the water resides and then they have to go back to their homes as nowhere else to go. This happens regularly in the rainy season. The team also assist in all the major national disasters, whether landslides, volcano eruption, earthquake or tsunami. The team is now recognized by the government and national search and rescue department, a great achievement, I am very proud to say.

rescue team
The rescue team hold a training exercise

From a small beginning with the help of Scottish people we have changed the lives of our team and many children. The future is brighter for everyone.

Update on 2nd school, named Ma’s Fly Free school; our Legok school is now largest kindergarten in the region; more flooding in the rainy season; new land for cows, trees, and rice

The Safe Haven Projects team are delighted to announce the opening of our second Fly Free School.  Fly Free is our educational project which educates children from age Three up to the age of Sixteen.  The new Fly Free School, named Ma’s Fly Free School, will also house the YKPA headquarters, and cover all the existing, and very successful Street Kids Projects in the area.

Legok School Report : Now officially the largest kindergarten in the region, we recently won 2nd place in the full regional schools colouring competitions. Also added to our curriculum for the coming year we are delighted to offer all children in 12+ age group a brand new sports development programme, with football and volleyball included in the new programme.

New Land for Cows, Trees and Rice : In support of Ma’s Fly Free School, we have also purchased a splendid plot of land in Bungbulang. The land will allow us to increase our livestock numbers, increase our plantations, begin to grow black rice and with a natural spring on site. With this development we are looking to increase our fund raising and animal investment, so thanks to all those new investors and donators willing to help us increase our stock, and start the new farming projects, it is your initial help that will allow the locals to learn the skills to develop their communities, and deliver results for themselves.

So Much damage and devastation, the team have been stretched again through out this rainy season in Indonesia, land slides and flooding have devastated the area, and the YKPA search and rescue boys have been stretched to the limit saving lives, and helping communities recover from the events. Huge thanks to all those who helped in supplying  items, shelter, food, and money to allow our dedicated team to make the difference.

Return from snowy Scotland; a date is set to occupy our new building; new land for cows project; plans for a new coconut plantation.

Its time for me to return to Java, ready to go, lots to do, only had one wish before i leave Scotland, to see real snowfall, well I got my wish, on my last day I woke up to a pure clean white world, took my dog for a walk, I was in heaven, even enjoyed the cold.

Next day was not so good as flights were delayed in Scotland and Paris making my journey longer, arriving in Java to heavy rain and flooded roads, but at least the rain was warm.

Good to be back with the kids, gifts from Audrey a great treat.

Best news ever. We made the deal on the new building and paid the deposit on 25th Jan, take over on 14 Feb, Marilyn’s birthday, our gratitude and grateful thanks to the Rodger family. The new building will be used to educate the street kids, and also as an office and training centre for the rescue team.

We also bought some land for the cow project so that all the cows will be in the one place, we will plant trees on the land which will bring in income in a few years time, the fund were again donated by the Rodger family. I hope to add photos of the new building and land soon.

Winter in Scotland; Marilyn’s family donate a building; exciting times ahead; Apuk and team continue the rescue work in Indonesia.

I returned to Scotland, the first winter there for 7 years, excited to see family and friends at this time of year and have Christmas with my granddaughters, not sure how I will cope with the cold but really hoping to see some snow.

As you know my dear friend and trustee of the charity, Marilyn Rodger died last year, her family wish to continue her work and donate a building to educate the street kids and start a kindergarten group. We found a suitable building so now meetings with lawyers etc. have to happen, as this is in Indonesia we must be clear and legal to secure the building. The building will also be used as an office and a training center for the rescue team, it is so exciting for us, as we wish to recreate the success we have accomplished in Legok Fly Free school. It is a reward for all my guys hard work as volunteers, gives us status in Java and lets us move forward with joy and appreciation. We hope to close the deal in Feb and move the kids in in March.

While I am in Scotland the rescue team under Apuk’s leadership has been kept busy due to all the flooding, using a dingy boat provided by the Rodger family, they ferried families from their homes to higher ground, the mosque’s being used as shelters. It is a continual job in the rainy season, afraid the Government do little to help the situation.

It’s the rainy season again; dam bursts; dangerous waters; evacuating families and emergency supplies.

This month the rainy season has started with continual rain from morning to night, many roads flooded and blocked by landslides. The guys are kept busy helping the villagers to higher ground as the water rose to 3 and 4 metres.

This happens every year but the villagers have nowhere else to live, so they just accept it as a fact of life. A clean up job means clothes, bedding etc have to be dried out and used again, as of course there’s no money for replacement.

Then disaster hit in a big way, a dam up in the hill burst its banks and flooded a large area, hundreds of houses swept away, 32 people missing, many injured and homeless. Our rescue guys went to help but were delayed – landslides blocking the roads meant getting to the area was very difficult. I have never seen anything like it, the conditions so bad all emergency help was delayed.

Eventually base camps were set up, families out of the rain, food and medical supplies provided. rescue work was slow because of the amount of water but everyone did the best they could in a difficult situation. This went on for 7 days before it was under control.

Many families had to move away from the area as their homes were completely destroyed. Our guys supplied clothes, rice and baby milk and helped to move the families to safer areas. Because of the heavy rain and flooding our guys are kept busy for 4 or 5 months of the year.

We find a placement for our special needs boy and make progress with the glue-sniffing boys; an ex-pupil starts his own business; outing to the park; tree planting.

This month we have some success stories. We found a placement for our special needs boy in a local school, free of charge, thanks to our guys’ negotiating skills. This will help to make his life brighter and improve his skills.

We had a problem with some of the older boys sniffing glue. They do this to stop the hunger pains, but thanks to regular healthy food, advice and care from the team this habit has stopped.

From Fly Free school, one of the students has started a computer repair business in Bandung city and another boy is going to college to learn social study. We took the kids on an outing to the local park, some greenery in their lives, we played games and had picnic, exhausting but great fun.

The team had a field trip with local students, 60 of them, to plant trees, teaching them to take care of their environment.

At the end of October the Legok Fly free school and the street kids school held Halloween parties for the kids, face painting, fun and games, fruit and cake, enjoyed by us all, good memories are made of happy times

I am getting used to the ground shaking, many small earthquakes at this time of year but so far no big disasters, it is funny what becomes acceptable after a few years in Java !!!

Back to the heat of Java; Bill Rodger visits from Scotland; a little sight-seeing then we visit all the projects.

After a long journey I arrive back in Java. The kids were excited to see me and sang me a lovely welcome – ”You Are My Everything”. I was very emotional. Lovely to see their smiles, Java children are very beautiful. The heat was a bit of a shock. After my Scottish summer, I will have to adapt again.

This year we had our first visitor from Scotland, Bill Rodger who came to look round all the projects. First we traveled to Legok to visit Fly Free school, a long rough journey although the roads have much improved since the tsunami time. The children love to see visitors, we gave out healthy snacks, fruit is cheap and plentiful in Java. The children sang songs and introduced themselves, very cute.

Next we visited our cow ‘Kindness’ and her calf (part of the cow project ). The calf is big and strong, the farmer very proud of her. We also have a sheep project so that was next on the list for a visit. Legok is a beautiful area near to the beach so we all went on scooter bikes to show our visitor the lovely views, good to relax after long journey, travel in Java always difficult.

Next day we continued our journey to the main cow project area in Bumbulang, up in the hills, better for the cattle and sheep and cooler for us. I bring all the knitwear and blankets knitted by the ladies in Scotland with me, this area is very cold at nights and the mothers really appreciate the extra warmth. This project helps the poor farmers as well as providing funds for the schools.

Next we traveled back to the street kids project where we helped in handing out the food to the children. We provide healthy meals and snacks (milk and fruit) depending on funds available. Their smiling faces make it all worth while. The building is in very poor condition so we are looking for something better.

A few weeks in Scotland, friends, family and fundraising; mother and toddler group at Fly Free school; looking for a better building for street kids; forest fire danger.

I traveled home to Scotland to visit family and friends, it is wonderful to catch up with everyone after 9 months in Java. I really miss my granddaughters who are growing up so fast. I was looking forward to a warm and sunny Scottish summer but afraid this year it did not happen but I still think Scotland is beautiful, the air clean and fresh, the best place in the world.

During the summer we held many fund raising events starting with our yearly Garden Day at my daughter’s plant nursery. It takes a lot of organizing and hard work, including me weeding the garden to make it look the best, not my favourite job!!

The day was very successful thanks to our helpers and many visitors, and raised much needed funds. We also held coffee mornings, sales tables, ladies nights, my good friend Mark Mellor took part in a sponsored army assault course, very difficult in rain and mud, he completed  it in good time and has signed up for next year. I am so grateful to all my friends who help to fund the Safehaven projects.

Back in Java, Apuk is taking care of all the projects as well as organizing the team to deal with forest fires, this is the dry season and many fires break out, even in the poorer villages, many of the houses are made from bamboo so fires spread quickly, the team always assist to a call out, even though they have no safety equipment, our aim is to kit the guys out when funds become available.

Fly Free school in Legok is running smoothly thanks to our headmaster Uwa and the kindergarten teachers. They have started a mother and toddler group, somewhere nice for the mothers to meet and toys for the kids to play with. We are planning to paint and do small repairs with some of the funds raised.

The street kids project is our biggest concern – the building that we rent is not in good condition. We wish to find something better to house our education centre so we can include a kindergarten, rescue training facilities and office. Good cooking equipment would also be a blessing!!!

My time in Scotland passed very quickly and at the beginning of September I traveled back to Java, my second home.

At last the rain has stopped; park outing with street kids; resue mission to site of plane crash; English language class competition…a great prize.

This month, at last the daily rain has stopped, no more wet trips on the motor bike, no more flooding in the street kids area (we hope).

Our team went on a rescue mission into the jungle to find a plane which had crashed. They found the crash site and recovered the bodies, sad to say no survivors.

We had an outing to a park with the street kids, picnic lunch, fun and games, the outing was enjoyed by all. We use public transport – a great expedition with 30 kids, not one I enjoyed, give me the motorbike any day!

In my English class we held the competition to find the best 2 students, the prize was a meal in western restaurant, this is an impossible dream for all of the students, coming from poor families in the villages. We had a delicious meal out and this gave great pleasure to the students.

I will return to Scotland at the end of the month to do some much needed fundraising and see family and friends. The team will continue with all projects, Apuk will keep us up-to-date by email. I really appreciated their loyalty and support and always being my bodyguard !!!!!