Scuba Schools International To Donate Certification Fees for Lombok Support
Dive training agency Scuba Schools International (SSI) has pledged to donate funds to the rebuilding effort in Lombok and the Gili Islands after the earthquake that struck the region at the beginning of August.
From 1 September to 31 November 2018, SSI has pledged to donate 100 per cent of all certification fees from courses at SSI dive centres on Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, Gili Meno and Lombok to the fundraising efforts. As reported by resident photographer Alfie Minnaar, the dive community came together to support various aid programs around the islands, which saw many of the local villagers dispossessed as their houses and businesses collapsed.
Food, water and medical supplies were brought over from Bali in a coordinated effort between local communities, government agencies and the Indonesian military. Many resident dive instructors devoted their efforts to getting the island up-and-running again, and even visiting tourists - including medical students and doctors - gave up their vacations to provide much-needed aid to local villages as medical services were overwhelmed. Funding pages set up by some of the dive centres have raised a significant amount of money, but more is still needed in order to support the rebuilding efforts.
Harriet Chatterley of Manta Dive, an SSI-based centre that became a focal point for the relief efforts as it is located directly in front of Gili Trawangan's ferry terminal, said: 'The diving business is such a big source of local employment and it is so vital now that we try and keep the local community employed. Hence the massive efforts everyone on the islands have made to clean up, repair, rebuild and reopen as soon as possible.'
As of 1 September, Manta Dive declared they were open for business and already tourists are starting to return to the Gilis, mostly backpackers at this time. The $35 usually paid to SSI for certification fees will be pooled between the dive shops to make sure that the money is distributed evenly amongst those who need it most.
'The system is well considered, balanced to the numbers of locals we are all trying to help and it’s SSI doing their part to make sure each one of their dive centres can help support their own local staff (and their families) through these challenging times and towards a more permanent future,' said Harriet, adding: 'The offer is enormously generous and we all appreciate the support and care from SSI massively.'
There are too many fundraising pages for us to list all of them here. People wishing to make alternative donations to the relief efforts should visit www.gofundme.com and search for 'Gili' or 'Lombok'