Sekolah Gunung Merapi is a small informal school located in Pangukrejo, Cangkringan; one of the last villages on the south slopes of Mt. Merapi. This area was devastated in the 2010 eruptions, and although our village has seen a complete regeneration since, it is still suffering as result of the governments harsh and isolating disaster risk policies which has seen all public facilities and amenities in health and education relocated to ‘safe’ zones outside of the 8-10km disaster risk zone III area. Since the eruptions, our village has experienced a tourism boom and is now one on the top tourism locations in Yogyakarta. As result, in spite of the official stance as the lava-tour area as ‘no-go’ area forbidden for habitation and commercial activities, many of the local residents have either chosen to return to their old homes or felt forced to return to this area due to numerous push and pull, socio-economic and cultural factors.
Our school supports the community that has rejected relocation chosen to return to their ancestral homes and/or who are active in this area during the day for economic reasons, and recognises their right to basic services guaranteeing their health, safety and wellbeing and we focus on offering support in three areas; empowerment through, sustainability and disaster mitigation.
1) EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION
Our main daily activities focus on empowerment through education. We provide high quality educational services to the local community in the form of our fantastic library, our after school study and recreational centre, early years literacy activities, general english and english for tourism classes, art and traditional dance classes.
2) DISASTER RECOVERY AND MITIGATION
As result of the governments contradictory stance on the steril zone and relocation program, the local government turns a blind eye to those living and running businesses illegally in the disaster risk zone, whilst at the same time excluding this community from disaster risk preparation events such as evacuation drills. We recognise that the community living in the high risk zone and those working in the flourishing tourism industry here are at increased risk, and thus it is our hope to be able to assist in the establishment of a comprehensive and exemplary community based disaster risk management policy.
Furthermore, due to our schools unique model and organisation, in the event of a disaster scenario leading to short or long term evacuation, our school is also prepared to relocate and become active in any new area such as an evacuation camp, should this ever become a need.
Sekolah Gunung Merapi promotes environmental sustainability through raising awareness about waste management issues, animal welfare and other climate issues, however we recognise that true community sustainability will be attained through achievement of our other goals, that is, through the development of a comprehensive and community-based disaster risk policy and provision of long term educational support.
Sekolah Gunung Merapi has been active since December 2015 and was established by Yasmin Winnett, a teacher and specialist in Indonesian studies and English education from the UK, and her partner Fajar Radite, a specialist in Human Rights and Democracy from Yogyakarta, and also a mix of volunteers who were active in the area both during and immediately after the 2010 eruptions, with the support and blessing of the village head and concerned members of the community. We are run entirely by volunteers and operate with thanks to support from the local community in provision of our operation space and electricity and private donations.