Gampong Anak


The Rotary Road to Gampong Anak

pic2The tsunami of December 26th 2004 was the most catastrophic natural disaster of our lifetime. The epicentre of the earthquake was 100 Km offshore from Aceh which suffered the worst damage and greatest loss of life.


The Rotary Club of Turramurra, like many other Rotary Clubs and individuals world wide, desperately wanted to help the survivors. Then President Henk Landstra asked PP Ian Howden to form a committee and establish what Turramurra club could do. There were no guidelines or limitations for the committee, just use the Rotary network and do what you can.

Rotary Clubs in District 3400 were quick to respond. District Governor, Ritje Rihatinah, pic4formed a TSUNAMI DISASTER TASK FORCE (TDM) Some of the first clubs to act were the clubs in Bali who had the experience of responding to the Bali bomb tragedy not long beforehand. Rotarian Monica Ginting of the Rotary Club of Jakarta Gambir was one of the first to visit Aceh. She was given a briefing in Jakarta and the first job in Banda Aceh was to find bodies, put them into body bags, and lay them in designated areas for trucks to pick up. In Australia Turramurra club had received a donation of A$384,000 from AstraZeneca, and PDG Harold Sharp had found a potential way to use it effectively by working with SOS to build an orphanage.

Then President of Ubud Club in Indonesia, Asri Kerthyasa, visited Turramurra as representative of toys2
the TDM and advised us how valuable cuddly toys were as comforters for both children and adults. Asri took back hundreds of toys and she also initiated the planning talks about the orphanage which she preferred to call Gampong Anak, meaning "Children's Village".

Club Secretary Julie White together with some friends sewed
hundreds of dresses and shorts for orphaned children which were distributed on subsequent visits by Turramurra Club members.

Negotiationsdresses1 continued with Pres. Asri Kerthyasa, PDG Osman Aman, chairman of the TDM andnegotiations
Hadi Nitihardjo, director of SOS.

The TDM had land, and SOS had already found sufficient money to build their own orphanage. The solution was to build Gampong Anak on the land leased by the TDM and SOS would manage the orphanage. This meant that we needed more money. By talking with RAWCS and inviting RAWCS District Representative onto our Gampong Anak Committee, we found
the avenue to Tsunami money collected by Rotary Clubs throughout Australia and at that stage not committed to a project. We were able to confidently make a start on building.

rawcsThe photo is RAWCS Rep. John Jobson with Rtn Vicky Gunawan at rear, site coordinator from Rotary Club of Jakarta Gambir, Tatang Kurnia, SOS North Sumatra manager in centre, and Anno, SOS Banda Aceh manager on




district3400But not everything was beer and skittles. The water table is only a couple of feet below ground level and the contractor was constantly reminded that Gampong Anak is built on old paddy rice fields.

Rotary District 3400 gave constant support, mostly through members of Jakarta Gambir Club. From
Left Michael Ginting, consulting engineer, PP Ian Howden, PDG Osman Aman, PDG Rudolfo Balmater.




While the buildings were under construction Turramurra Club arranged for 4 final year Architectural students from the Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh to work with Sydney University students to plan the greater Rotary Youth Centre of which Gampong Anak will be only a part. This was a very successful venture organised by Pres Elect Peter Lyons.

District 3400 had rented a house in Banda Aceh as a centre for their numerous tsunami recovery projects in Aceh. 15 orphaned university students stayed in the centre which became known as the "Mini Rotary Youth Centre". It was also very useful for Turramurra members who needed accommodation while Gampong Anak was being built. The students were excellent cooks.pic5

Mauliza's story is one of thousands that survived the tsunami. His father had been killed by the freedom fighters previously and he was taking his mother to the mosque to escape the rushing water. As he mounted the steps the water took his mother from his hands. Her body was never recovered, but Mauliza is pleased that he was able to save another lady who was struggling to escape the water by mounting the steps.

And so the vision of a Children's Village became a reality "Gampong Anak".
finished-insideThen there was the opening ceremony with R.I. President Bill Boyd and Lorna. And the sister club ceremony between the
Rotary Club of Turramurra and the Rotary Club of Jakarta Gambir. These two Clubs have worked so well together that the success of Gampong Anak is just reward.finished

This plaque is now on the outside wall of Gampong Anak and can be seen by all as they enter the area. It lists all of the Rotary Clubs and Districts who made a contribution to Gampong Anak.

The leading words on the plaque in Indonesian and English read:
The suffering of the Acehnese people following the tsunami on December 26th 2004 plaquewas felt in the hearts of Rotarians throughout the world. Gampong Anak is the result of the efforts of the Rotary Clubs of Jakarta Gambir and Rotary Club of Turramurra to direct some of the Rotary International funds and talents for the benefit of the community of Desa Kahju, Banda Aceh.

The 6 homes at Gampong Anak are now home to boys orphaned by the tsunami between the ages of 12 and 16.

The community centre is currently being used to teach local ladies to sew and when they are proficient they hope to start a clothing outlet from which a number of the local community will benefit. Julie White and Julie Palmer will visit with a team of sewing teachers in April of 2008 and DG Elect Tony Castley has already sent 10 sewing machines as a gift to start them off. Trevor Lowes will develop a business plan with two of the ladies in March 2008.
The longer term ambition is to start a vocational centre to train the boys and girls, with the objective of preparing them to find a job. The Gampong Anak committee of Turramurra Rotary Club has committed to pay the cost of running Gampong Anak for at least the next 3 years.

If any clubs would like to support a child for A$1500 per year please contact PP Ian Howden on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Individuals can support a child for A$500 per year and donations are tax deductible.
There is no administrative cost, all of your donation goes to support the child and we will arrange a contact with him or her.

Chair PDG Pam Pritchard                                               Past District Governor Tjoet Rahman

Gampong Anak is being managed by SOS and a Board of Governors has been formed to which SOS will respond. The board is PDG Pam Pritchard, Chair, PDG Rudolfo Balmater, PDG Tjoet Rahman, Rtn Darni Daud (Rector of the Syiah Kuala University), Rtn Hadi Nitihardjo, (Director of SOS), and the Governor of Aceh has been invited to be a patron.

 For those wishing to find out more about SOS Children's Villages go to

Tsunami Orphans at the SOS village at Banda Aceh taking their turn to wash dishesfootball

                                                                                    Boys playing football


The 12 seat bus that was delivered prior to Christmas in 2007. The boys at Gampong Anak have a long way to go to school and there is no suitable public transport. The cost of the bus was provided by Red Cross and TJoin in Taiwan. It was brokered by the Taiwan Rotary District 3480.


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Polio Eradication


A Rotary program...
1985:  350,000 cases annually 

2013:   406 cases, worldwide

At the time that Rotary formalised its eradication efforts by creating the PolioPlus program in 1985, polio was killing or paralysing more than 1,000 children per day.

Since then, thanks to Rotary and our partners, the world has seen polio cases plummet by well over 99 percent.  In the process, more than ten million children who would otherwise have been paralysed, and 250,000 children who would otherwise have died, have been spared these fates.

India — long considered a country where it would be simply impossible to eradicate the disease has not had a case since 13th January, 2011 and has been declared polio free.

That means there are now just three countries where polio remains endemic — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, and outstanding progress has recently been made in Afghanistan and Nigeria.

After decades of hard work and tenacity, Rotary and our partners are on the brink of eradicating this shocking disease.  However the job is not done yet, serious risks remain and a strong push is needed now to root it out once and for all. It really is a window of opportunity of historic proportions.

The polio cases represented by that final fraction of a percent are by far the most difficult and expensive to prevent.  Challenges include geographic isolation, worker fatigue, armed conflict, and cultural barriers.

That's why Rotarians continue to raise funds. To date, Rotary has contributed well over US$1.2 billion to the polio eradication effort.

For the latest information on the fight against polio, please visit the end polio now website 


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Bo Hospital

Sierra Leone in West Africa, has suffered many years of civil war and political instability leaving this small but densely populated country in a destitute state with frightening child mortality and virtually no health care in rural areas.

One in six infants die at birth and 282 children per thousand die a Bo baby
under five years of age. Life expectancy is 34 years and one in six women die in childbirth. The main killers are Malaria, Diarrheal disaeses, Respiratory disease, Malnutrition.

Dr Nuli Lemoh, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra and respected Sydney paediatrician, has carried a life-long dream to build a Children's Hospital in Bo, the largest rural city in his poverty stricken and war-torn homeland.

The Turramurra Rotary Bo Hospital Committee is fundraising for the project. They are working with the Rotary Club of Bo and have received strong support from local and overseas Rotary Clubs, Rotary International and International House at Sydney University.

The Hospital project commenced in 2008, was completed in stages by 2011: - purchase of 3 acres of land,  - construction of 21 bed hospital – to be increased to 60 beds – diagnostic facilities and short term treatment, operating theatre, health education, training and research unit.

The vision for the Bo Children's Hospital project is: To treat, teach, train, to improve child survival and health.

The city of Bo is vibrant and looking to clubs like ours to help build the basic infrastructure required to improve life expectancy. Recently a stable government has implemented a highly successful peace keeping and disarmament program, rebuilding the economy and has had 90% of its foreign debt forgiven by the IMF and World Bank.
Map of where is BoBo4-250
Attention is now turning to running the hospital: staff, furnishings, office equipment, medical equipment and medicines. Importantly, focus is also on health education and establishing a research unit  aimed at educating children and parents on nutrition and prevention of disease.
Bo Hospital

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shelterbox250Java2006In 2011 we raised funds to provide temporary accommodation for victims of the Victorian bushfires and overseas disasters.

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers
emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide and are homeless. The initial challenge is usually medical aid and making sure everyone has access to water and food. However, another essential is shelter - because without protection from the elements survival can be a real battle, particularly for the young, old and infirm.

To deal with this specific challenge, ShelterBox was launched by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in the UK in April 2000 and the first boxes sent to India in January 2001. Now, ShelterBox has become one of the most effective aid agencies in the world, and is still administered by Rotary.

In April an underwater earthquake registering 8.0 on the Richter scale caused a tsunami to hit the Solomon Islands. The epicentre of the quake was just 25 miles from the island of Gizo, leaving 5,000 people homeless. Almost immediately, 200 ShelterBoxes were flown from the UK to Brisbane, then transported to the capital, Honiara, and then a further 200 miles by sea to Gizo, making the final stage of the journey by canoe – providing shelter for 2,000 people.

Sbox Columbia floods

ShelterBox goal is to help 500,000 people every year. By 2008 96,500 ShelterBoxes had been sent out.

During 2011

  • Immediately after the floods in Australia, 200 ShelterBoxes were placed on standby
  • In the six months to June, 2,680 ShelterBoxes had been deployed to 8 countries: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Bolivia and Columbia


Each ShelterBox contains a dry weatherproof shelter, a warm bed, collapsible containers and water purification, cooking equipment, including a multi-fuel stove, and eating utensils, a practical toolkit and a children's pack – for 10 people. The contents are tailored depending on the nature and location of the disaster, with great care taken sourcing every item to ensure it is robust enough to be of lasting value.

The cost of a box is $1,000, including delivery direct to those who need it. Each box bears its own unique number so a donor (in this case, our club) can track its boxes all the way to its recipient country via the website.

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