Immediately after earthquake and tsunami hit Aceh on December, 2004, UNESCO initiated a recovery project, and Sacred Bridge was to design and implement a cultural healing program for the surviving children and traditional artists. After a rapid assessment, and came up with a program design, the implementation was already undertaking on February, 2005. Although helps for the Acehnese came from all directions, most were on immediate physical emergency needs, a few on psychological side, and none from cultural.
We always believe that arts are one of the self-reliant supportive systems in human life. It is important to keep aware that others cannot help us if we cannot help ourselves. So it was our intention to encourage the survivors to rely more on themselves than on others. Traditional Acehnese performing arts were then deliberately chosen as the main healing vehicle. Four barracks with around 200 children, and 20 artists whom we found joined the program. The team of 10 dedicated individuals executed the program for 3 months with an average of 12-hour working on daily basis, and in the midst of frequent shoot-outs between the Aceh Liberation Front and Indonesian military.
Monthly monitoring was carried out after the 3-month program ended. Within six months, on December, 2005, the second program was delivered for another 3 months. Hidden and haunting voices were let out, grimace turned to shining, hopes and joy were again felt in the air. In July, 2006, 40 children and 12 artists were flown from Aceh to share their glory in a staggering live performance.