Before 2006, there was nothing in the village of Tongkaina. Now, thanks to sponsors, volunteers and donors, there is a real high school.
The name of our school in North Sulawesi is SMK Solagratia Tongkaina. This is quite a mouthful, but means as much as “Tongkaina Christian Secondary Vocational School.”
We chose what is known as an SMK when choosing schooling. In Indonesia there are basically two options: an SMA (preparation for university studies), and an SMK which is comparable to a secondary vocational school.
Given the socioeconomic background of the village children, we chose the latter option. So we are training children for a real profession!
Our school did not come about without the necessary blood, sweat and tears. Read more about it here.
Students spend the first year learning swimming, snorkeling and theory about the diving industry. In the second and third years, they are trained as Open Water, Advanced and Rescue divers with EFR.
Hotel training focuses primarily on front desk, housekeeping and restaurant jobs. We want to expand this further into kitchen and mechanical maintenance.
For those who can’t stay in the diving class, or choose not to, children learn how to work as tour guides and how to work at a travel agency.
About 70% of all children who have now left school have found jobs and some have even completed university studies, something previously impossible for children from the villages. Two of them now teach at our school, eight are PADI Instructors and a large number are now Divemasters. Most hotels in town have employees coming from our school and in Thalassa ‘s dive center you dive exclusively with guides trained at our school.
Meanwhile, children from all over Indonesia come to our school. After graduation, they return to work and support their families.
In particular, the dive tourism training sponsored by Thalassa Dive Resorts Indonesia and taught by Simone is very popular.
Many of the Manadonese teachers are graduates of our school, so we retain as much in-house knowledge as possible and pass it on to the students. In addition to the previously mentioned subjects, we also cover subjects such as English, Japanese, history and mathematics.
In addition to the normal curriculum, the school also organizes various projects with the children. These projects promote general awareness towards the environment, with the aim of making every student an ambassador for nature!
Every three months we organize a big beach clean-up on one of the islands in North Sulawesi.
The “Trash Zombies” dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller to raise awareness for the waste problem.
Traditional dances done by the school’s students, as entertainment at resorts or during events in Manado.
Sometimes we have volunteers on the floor (mostly guests of Thalassa Dive Resorts Indonesia), who are only too happy to give the children a fun day through a workshop, teaching or giving a presentation from their area of expertise.
In addition, we organized many other things, including:
We need your help. Adopt a student make a one-time or regular donation, anything is possible. Our board is 100% volunteers and will be happy to explain what you can do to help these children and give them a better life.