TDMRC USK Successfully Commemorates 19th Tsunami Aceh with Collaborative Learning Activities Involving High School Students from Japan and Banda Aceh

Senior high school students (Banda Aceh – Japan)

Banda Aceh – TDMRC USK (Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center, Syiah Kuala University) successfully carried out the 19th anniversary of the tsunami with collaborative activities with the Kamaishi-Aceh Project, the Aceh Tsunami Museum, and funded by JICA. This activity was carried out in 3 days, starting on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, and ending on Thursday, December 21, 2023. The activity that brought together high school students from Japan and high school students from Aceh involved 4 students from Otsuchi Japan High School, 3 students from Labschool Banda Aceh High School, 2 students from MAN Model Banda Aceh, 1 student from Modal Bangsa Banda Aceh High School, 1 student from SMA 5 Banda Aceh and one student from MAN 3 Rukoh Aceh Besar.

The series of activities began on December 19, welcoming a group of Japanese students at the TDMRC building; the group consisted of 4 students, 1 teacher, 1 Aceh Kamaishi project manager, and 2 interpreters. The head of the organizing committee for this 19-year tsunami activity, Dr. Syahrul Ridha, said that the activities on the first day were a tour of the TDMRC building, introductions and ice-breaking to build chemistry between Japanese high school students and Aceh high school students.

“On the second day, December 20, indoor activities were held in the morning, namely a talk show with the theme ‘Empowering Youth People in Disaster Risk Reduction’ which brought in youth speakers who took part in the world of disaster, then in the afternoon we continued outdoor activities, namely playing EVANAMI games and planting mangroves in Gampong Kajhu, and joint discussions at the Kryad Hotel,” he continued.

Talkshow in TDMRC Auditorium

The event, also covered by Japanese media, aimed to build youth awareness about disaster risk reduction through knowledge sharing and joint learning activities between Japanese and Acehnese youth. In the talk show session, Japanese students were allowed to become speakers who explained their experiences dealing with the tsunami that hit their village a few years ago. Speakers from Aceh, Imam Maulana (FASTANA -TDMRC Alumni), Hanif (FASTANA Chairperson), Adelia (FASTANA) and Delisha also explained their experience in dealing with the 2004 Aceh tsunami disaster and their role in various disaster risk reduction activities. The talk show, hosted by Acehnese moderator Dr. Rizanna Rosemary and Japanese moderator Eri Hosoe, attracted the attention of other student participants and created an active and lively discussion.

The talk show was opened by the USK Rector represented by the Head of the USK International Affairs Office, Dr. Muzaillin Affan, who, in his remarks, mentioned that USK is one of the Universities with the most Japanese Alumni after IPB and UNHAS, with alums from Hokkaido to Okinawa, so that USK’s cooperation with Japan continues to this day. This 19th anniversary of the Aceh tsunami is a form of cooperation between USK TDMRC and the Kamaishi-Aceh Project supported by JICA. “I hope this activity runs smoothly and students can learn from each other regarding their role in disaster risk reduction,” concluded Dr. Muzaillin.

The vice director of TDMRC, Prof. Muksin Umar, in his speech, also mentioned that this activity was very important because in 2004, high school children were not yet born, so the information received by them was very minimal, “this activity will be very useful for Acehnese and Japanese students to learn together about dealing with tsunami disasters and learning disaster risk reduction, we also hope that this event can continue to be held in the coming years and have an impact on Acehnese and Japanese students,” he said.

The talk show, which ended at 12 noon, continued with a meal together before carrying out field activities to Gampong Kajhu. The field activity which was held at 2 pm was enthusiastically welcomed by the people of Gampong Kajhu represented by PKK mothers who together with the TDMRC Fastana team exhibited processed mangrove flour brownie products. The students seemed enthusiastic about tasting the brownies and learning the flour processing process.

Discussions at the Kryad Hotel

Before planting mangroves together, the students were also introduced to the Evanami Game developed by the TDMRC Team; the survival game to save themselves from the tsunami disaster has a location setting in Banda Raya District, Aceh Besar and also covers the Gampong Kajhu area. The students also played this game together through the tools provided by the committee.

Planting mangroves in Gampong Kajhu

The second day’s activities were also colored by coffee together and reflection discussions in the evening. Dr. Rina Suryani Oktari, the Head of the USK Master of Disaster Science Study Program and Head of the USK TDMRC Disaster Education Division, also guided the evening reflection activity.

On the third day, closing activities were held at the USK TDMRC Building. The students looked sad because they had to say goodbye to their new friends from Japan.” This activity was unique, and it was the first time to bring together two young generations (SMA / MA) from Japan and Aceh in a joint activity. It was very interesting to see our children’s interaction, and hopefully, it will be a good memory for all. With the passing of 19 years of the Aceh tsunami, hopefully, we will be more aware of the importance of tsunami preparedness efforts at all levels of society, especially the younger generation such as students,” concluded Prof. Syamsidik, Director of TDMRC USK in closing the activity on December 22, 2023.

Group photo after cooking brownies from mangrove

Group photo session after mangrove planting

Awarding certificates of appreciation to senior high school students (Banda Aceh and Japan)