International projects

A Kindergarten for Timor Leste

Timor Leste (or East Timor), one of the world’s newest republics, is on Australia’s front doorstep as it looks north towards South-East Asia.  The formation of the republic in 2002 was the result of years of tumult in which an estimated 100,000 people died – and a whole strata of society was wiped out.

Rotary was brought to Timor Leste immediately after independence in 2002 when the Rotary Club of Dili was chartered under the auspices of 2002-03 District 9550 Governor Jeff Crofts, a long time member of the Rotary Club of Cairns Mulgrave.  Timor Leste is within Rotary District 9550.

The Farol Kindergarten

Farol, in the nation’s capital Dili, has a school for 2,000 young Timorese, who attend in two four-hour shifts per day.  The Rotarians of District 9550 raised more than $90,000 and built a four-room kindergarten for the school as a legacy of the first Rotary District Conference held in Dili in May 2013.

The construction of a kindergarten in the grounds of Farol School, Dili was completed as a Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) project  sponsored by Cairns Mulgrave Rotary Club on behalf of District 9550 under Project Leader PDG Jeff Crofts & Daryl Mills (Timor Leste RAWCS Liaison Officer) guidance. It utilised the trained labour force and material resources of East Timor Roofing (ETR), a local Timor builder and funding from 37 Rotary Clubs in district 9550, the R/C’s Melbourne and Morrisett, six major individual benefactors and the Lutheran Layman League.  (East Timor Roofing was established as a RAWCS project in mid 2000 by Rotary Clubs of Doncaster and Melbourne and joined subsequently by Rotary Club of Lilydale. The intent then and now was to provide training and opportunities for the people of Timor Leste to help them help themselves to greater sustainability as a nation and as a people.)

The new kindergarten now has six times more space than was previously available and can increase to 80 children per four hour shift and additional teaching staff. The new toilet facilities now match those of the senior school which houses 2000 students.

A delightful mural covering the length of the building was created by local artists. It depicts an inspiring creed which says if you go to school and study hard you can leave Timor for further study abroad then return on the back of a crocodile as a Judge, Doctor, Builder, or Policeman to help develop a great country.

The impressive two hour Opening Ceremony in August 2013 was attended by the entire junior school’s students and teachers, School Director Irene, the Minister of Educations’ representative, Rtn Daryl Mills and President Jason Moore (both R/C Dili), PP David Boyce, IPP Tony Favaro, IPP Peter Sexton R/C Cairns Mulgrave, ETR Directors Bob Glindemann & Bruce Parker from Melbourne, and Rotarians from R/C Dili.

The grateful children danced and performed in traditional costumes to an enchanted audience and their grateful parents provided a gastronomic treat.






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Jodie Darley