Aceh: 13 November 2006 – RYTHM Foundation has renewed its support of students left without access to education in the wake of the December 2004 Asian Tsunami by returning to Aceh for the second year running to present a cash donation to Acehnese students in Lhokseumawe. As part of the three-year scholarship programme that was instituted during RYTHM Foundation’s Tsunami relief efforts, Trustee Mr Bernhard H. Mayer, and QuestNet Indonesia Corporate Communications Manager Ms Wita Dahlan, made the two-hour flight from Jakarta to Medan. They were joined by four Independent Representatives from Medan before driving another seven hours to Lhokseumawe city, north of Banda Aceh. Nestled in the middle of the Sumatran coastal line between Medan and Banda Aceh, Lhokseumawe plays an important role in trade and distribution for the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province. Large organisations like Asean Aceh Fertilizer and Exxon have large operations in this area, yet poverty is rife. The difference in development rates between the country’s capital and this district, as well as concern for their natural resources, have led to the formation of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). For decades, until the massive Tsunami devastated the area in December 2004, there were periodic armed conflicts between the Indonesian military and local forces fighting for greater separation from the central government, making Lhokseumawe one of the three Indonesian hot spots (along with East Timor and Papua) for conflict. Over the decades, the fight has destroyed many lives, hurt the economy, and created many widows and orphans. Education facilities in this environment are inadequate and despite a peace agreement being signed, there are still some poor communities that have been overlooked by relief efforts and local NGOs. Amongst those suffering are children at Kec. Bandardua, Kab. Bireun, just two hours away from Lhokseumawe. This is where the RYTHM Foundation team arrived early on 4 November 2006. The team reached the coastal village of Bandardua to meet 182 students and orphans from several primary schools gathered at LPI Dayah Riyadhul Mubarak Al-Idrisiyah with many of the students coming from other remote villages. In his remarks, Mr Mayer informed the students that RYTHM Foundation, with the cooperation of Rotary Pforzheim RF, have granted the funds that are helping them with their studies. This gesture let the students know that they have brothers and sisters in other parts of the world who care about them. Each student received a year of school fees paid by RYTHM Foundation. In the first year of this initiative in 2005, RYTHM Foundation paid out school fees to 120 Acehnese students in Medan and Aceh.