September 13, 2007

Reef Check Indonesia Distributes Children’s Comic Notebooks to Earthquake-Affected Areas


Reef Check Indonesia has just distributed 5,910 comic notebooks to school children in Bantul, Jogja Indonesia. This area of Indonesia was badly affected by the 2006 earthquake that destroyed most schools, homes and study facilities.
Each notebook includes four pages of comics drawn by Aldo, a famous cartoonist from Bali. The comics tell the story of a student’s conversation with teachers and fishermen about the importance of the coastal ecosystem and it’s ability to reduce tsunami wave energy. The comics also highlight signs of impending tsunamis that people should be aware of. The goal of these comic books is for children to read them again and again and integrate the messages into their everyday lives.
The development of the notebook was initiated in Bali where a drawing competition for local children took place. The winners of the competition had their artwork exhibited at the Mercure Resort Sanur Hotel in Bali last year and sales from the exhibition provided the seed funding for the development of the notebook.
The printing and distribution of the first 10,000 copies of the notebooks were supported by the RC Manta Club, WWF, Sustainable Development Foundation, Kehati, Lestari, Focil Indonesia and CIDA. Gajah Mada University and Atmadjaya University diving club supported Reef Check Indonesia in creating an event to unveil the notebook. 
The event included three major activities: (1) a workshop aimed to develop a network of informed volunteers and refresh their knowledge regarding tsunamis, earthquakes and local ecosystems; (2) a press conference to unveil the notebook; and lastly (3) the distribution of the notebooks to school children. The notebooks were distributed by students from two universities and two local restaurants.
In addition to the 5,910 notebooks already distributed, another 4,000 books will be distributed to children in Wakatobi, North Bali and other additional locations.
Reef Check Indonesia maintains a strong commitment in environmental education for children. They are currently seeking more sponsors and collaborators to print and distribute the notebooks to children in tsunami-prone areas throughout Indonesia. In the meantime, on behalf of all of the children in Bantul and Jogja, Reef Check Indonesia would like to deliver our gratitude for your support.