Our School in Tongkaina

Before 2006 there was nothing in Tongkaina village. Now, thanks to sponsors, volunteers and donors, there is a real high school.

SMK Solagratia Tongkaina

The name of our school in North Sulawesi is SMK Solagratia Tongkaina. This is quite a mouthful, but means as much as “Christian Secondary Vocational Education Tongkaina”.

When choosing the school courses, we opted for a so-called SMK. In Indonesia there are basically two options: an SMA (preparation for university studies), and an SMK, which can be compared with a secondary vocational education.

In view of the socio-economic background of the village children, we have opted for the latter option. So we train children for a real profession!

The different studies

Diving Tourism

The students learn swimming, snorkeling and theory about the diving industry in the first year. In the second and third year they are trained to Open Water, Advanced- and Rescue diver with EFR.

Hotel tourism

The hotel training mainly focuses on a job at the front desk, housekeeping and restaurant. We want to expand this further to the kitchen and mechanical maintenance.

Tours & Travel

For those who cannot, or choose not to, stay in the diving class, children learn how to work as tour guides and how to get a job at a travel agency.

ICT course

In this class the students learn everything about computers and the internet. Skills in Microsoft Office and other software is also covered, as well as a number of graphics programs.

SMK Solagratia Tongkaina

A Success Story

About 70% of all children out of school have found a job and some have even completed university studies, which was previously impossible for children from the villages. Two of them now teach at our school, eight  are PADI Instructors and many are Divemasters. Most hotels in the city have employees from our school and at Thalassa's dive center you will dive exclusively with guides trained at our school.

Opportunities at a national level

Children from all over Indonesia now come to our school. After graduating, they return to work and support their families.

Local dive guides

In particular the diving tourism training, sponsored by Thalassa Dive Resorts Indonesia and taught by Simone is very popular.

From student to teacher

Many of the Manadonese teachers have graduated from our school, giving us as much knowledge as possible in-house preserved and passed on to students. In addition to the aforementioned subjects, subjects such as English, Japanese, history and mathematics are also covered.

Projects

In addition to the normal teaching programmes, the school also organizes various projects with the children. These projects promote general environmental awareness, with the aim of making every student an ambassador for nature!

Beach Clean-ups

Every three months we organize a large beach clean-up on one of the islands in North Sulawesi.

Trash Zombie Dance

The “Trash Zombies” who dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller to raise awareness for the waste problem.

Traditional Dance

Traditional dances done by the students of the school, as entertainment at resorts or during events in Manado.

Volunteers also do their part

Sometimes we have volunteers (mostly guests from Thalassa Dive Resorts Indonesia), who are only too happy to provide the children a nice day by means of a workshop, teaching or giving a presentation from their field of expertise.

Other projects

In addition, we have organized many other things, such as:

  • A very successful demonstration against selling reef fish in plastic bags at the supermarket
  • Our diving students attended a Guinness World Book of Records attempt
  • Coral reef research and logging bleaching
  • Conducting workshops at other schools on environmental issues
  • We have had guest teachers for English, dance, drama and music.

We do a lot of good, but we can't do it alone.

We need your help. Adopting a student, making a one-time or regular donation, anything is possible. Our board consists of 100% volunteers and are happy to explain what you can do to help these children and offer them a better life.