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Hundreds of new schools in Aceh, North Sumatra

UNICEF will build hundreds of new schools in Aceh and North Sumatra

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is to build more than 350 permanent new schools at a cost of $90 million in the regions of Indonesia devastated by the tsunami last year.

“These schools are a good example of how UNICEF is building back, building schools to a higher standard than those that existed before,” the agency’s Representative for Indonesia, Gianfranco Rotigliano said in an update on the plans.

“We’ve also worked closely with the people,” he added, referring to the strong grass-roots manner in which the plans were developed, which included parents and local political leaders. The schools will have separate toilets for boys and girls, provide access for disabled students, supply safe drinking water, and house libraries in those areas where it was requested.

The first schools will be built in Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar, and work will start within the month, said UNICEF. The agency recently got a sign-off to start school construction from the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) for Aceh and Nias, and the work will be carried out by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

UNICEF has been working in close partnership with the Indonesian and Aceh provincial Governments to develop plans to rebuild 230 schools, and refurbish some 137 schools that were damaged in the 26 December tragedy which killed more than 200,000 people across the Indian Ocean region.

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