By: Abu Jalil Aiman
June 13, 2016 Cotabato City – Four delegates from the Autonomous Province of Aceh in Indonesia came to Mindanao particularly in the Bangsamoro areas on May 31 to June 9, 2016 purposely to recruit interested young Moros to study in Aceh, Indonesia that will be covered by a scholarship program. The Indonesian delegates were Agus Maulana, a supervisor of a school in Aceh, Sahlan Bin Hanafiah, Yulian Muhammad and Fatimah Aivanni all are came from the academic sector of Aceh.
Yusoph S. Lumambas, Secretary General of UNYPAD said that during their 9-day visit in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur province, at least 10 students had been recruited after a thoroughly individual interview right in their own homes with the permission and presence of their guardians. The interviews also included 20 students in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi province, in Western Mindanao.
Maulana , the delegate’s leader said that Yayasan Sukma Foundation was created after the devastating tsunami in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam on December 26, 2004 that claimed more than two hundred thousand lives, damaged properties and facilities which made the lives of people in Aceh so miserable.
He said that the political conflict in Aceh is a plus factor to the peoples’ sufferings and rebuilding education in Aceh is gargantuan task for the Foundation.
After the settlement of the political conflict between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Government of Indonesia (GoI), the parties were convinced that the peaceful settlement of the conflict is one way of rebuilding Aceh as a result of the tsunami in 2004. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed and implemented on March 31, 2006, more than 2 years after the tsunami.
“The government of Indonesia, Yayasan Sukma Foundation, the academe and other stakeholders believed that establishing strong and capable human resources are the foundation of running an efficient and competent government in any country, that is why we are here for the first time in Bangsamoro”, Maulana said.
“The Foundation focus on peace building programs especially in areas where decades of conflict took placed”, Sahlan Bin Hanafiah said,
“What was so appreciated was the show of eagerness by members of communities to become part of the opportunity resulting to a large number of students who expressed interest in the program but Yayasan delegates were optimistic that in the future many of them will be accommodated”. Tu Alid Alfonso said.
UNYPAD leadership headed by Dr. Rahib L. Kudto and those that successfully hurdled the interview and where eventually recruited expressed their deepest thanks and gratitude to the Indonesian people for choosing Bangsamoro youth as pioneer beneficiaries of the scholarship program most of whom suffered from the political conflict in Mindanao.
Most of the parents interviewed said that the scholarship grants are an unusual opportunities for their children and the Bangsamoro people. “We need to grab this opportunity even though there is a need to sacrifice; especially that Indonesia is far from Mindanao. There is no choice because we cannot sustain their studies here due to the very expensive education”, they said.
This coming July 13, 2016, the student-recruits will start their studies and should depart from Manila for Indonesia in the last week of June 2016.