BRIGHT BEACONS IN THE STORM, CHILDREN LEARN TO HELP OTHERS
When a string of earthquakes hit Indonesia, Volunteer Ministers brought much needed trauma relief to the young.
The island of Lombok, Indonesia, was terrorized by a series of earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks over a period of weeks, resulting in more than 500 dead and over 42,000 houses and 450 schools damaged or destroyed.
As people put their lives back together, Volunteer Ministers attended to their immediate physical needs by supplying food, water and clothing. It was soon evident that survivors were suffering most from emotional trauma. Some were unable to sleep for weeks, anticipating the next quake, and education island-wide was at a standstill with children and teachers afraid to return to school.
The Indonesian VM In-Charge, Abdi Surbakti, realized what his people needed was “trauma relief”—Scientology assists to relieve fear and anxiety. But he needed a strategy to reach the population: “By reaching the school students and training them, we can have the students who are trained teach their mothers. Then the mothers can help the fathers.”
Surbakti contacted a first school and set up a workshop for 250 students. As the classrooms were unsafe, the VM team gathered them in corridors and taught them to do Scientology assists. The results were immediate and miraculous: the students’ persisting fears and apathy were transformed into smiles and lively activity. Seeing the change, the principal remarked, “This is important for helping the students with their trauma after the earthquake. By learning this, I hope I can reduce the fear—not just for the students, but we teachers are also traumatized, so we definitely need this.”
The pilot workshop was a success. The VMs began systematically visiting schools, from primary to secondary, delivering the Scientology trauma relief workshops.
Then 1,025 miles away, in the coastal city of Palu, Sulawesi, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit, creating a tsunami in its wake and killing an estimated 4,340. Surbakti turned over the school workshops in Lombok to a local team he had trained and flew to Palu. The scene there was the same. One VM said, “Some of the schools in Palu are still not active due to recent tremors and they still remember one of the schools being swallowed by mud during the earthquake.”
The VM team replicated the pattern of Lombok and immediately set up trauma relief workshops in the schools. The results were just as miraculous. One VM noted, “Students feel more cheerful after being given assists. They feel like they are reborn. Likewise, when teachers give assists to their children at home, the children love the assists and want more.”
“By learning this, I hope I can reduce the fear—not just for the students, but we teachers are also traumatized, so we definitely need this.”
The principal of High School #3 in Palu said, “All this time, no one has come to this school with this kind of program. This is something that we have been waiting for so our students can come back to life again.”
In Palu the VMs also trained and assigned 14 school principals and teachers as Community In-Charges to care for their entire community—beyond their immediate students—to carry on the assist training and delivery when the VMs departed.
In all, and quite in addition to all other forms of help VMs brought to 84,360 lives in Lombok and Palu, their activities resulted in 21,237 life-restoring assists being delivered and 8,815 new people trained to continue the healing technology.
HELP RESTORE HOPE
Volunteer Ministers are on call across the globe and around the clock to respond to any and every disaster. Your contribution will fund volunteers’ travel as well as food, water, tents and medical supplies for disaster victims.