Walking with East Timoreans
The Terrace Timor Network (TTN) is a support group with a difference. It comprises past and present students, parents and staff, from the community of St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, Australia. Formed in 2006, and inspired by the charism of Edmund Rice, TTN aims to:
During 2010 the efforts of a growing group of volunteers have continued to stretch the boundaries of what can be achieved together. It has been a year of partnerships and collaboration as we seek to leverage the support and skills available within the Oceania Province Ministry team led by Christian Brother Peter Clinch.
Our primary focus area here has been funding wages for health care workers and the provision of medical equipment. This year we are also funding the fitting-out of an ambulance, training of paramedics, and primary health care initiatives to address malnutrition and perinatal care. TTN members have also become engaged with staff from the proposed Hospital of Hope in Timor with a view to providing specialist healthcare services and advice in the future. Terrace ‘old boys’ and parents are now planning a medical immersion to provide specialist training and clinics where these will be of most use. There is certainly scope for more volunteers!
Our ‘Special Projects’ team – known as Brother Dan’s Crew in honour of Christian Brother Dan Courtney - is being led this year by a group of younger ‘old boys’. They embody the spirit of Terrace ‘beyond the gates’! After last year’s successful building project, another project for 2010 is currently being scoped to build a new pre-school building in Railako Craic. Our future projects may target buildings, water, and agriculture – all within a developing plan to co-ordinate the efforts of different groups. Reading this, you may have some support to offer this team in terms of funding building activities, sourcing building materials, or offering your expertise or time…
TTN have helped to funds wages for many preschool and primary school teachers over recent years. This year, we embark on a new phase: negotiating with the Australian Catholic University to send 4th year students to complete Action Research projects in Timor Leste. Terrace Teachers are also travelling to Timor to support Teachers in Dili with professional development. We hope to broaden our efforts to include adult education and professional development in fields such as business, agribusiness, and leadership education. Would you like to be involved?
After a successful pilot in 2009 and lots of lessons learnt, Just Coffee – our organic Timorese coffee - is in full flight in 2010. Initial proceeds from sales of over $9000 have already been distributed to the coffee-growing community. Currently we are supporting them in a project to successfully prune their trees to increase yield in future years. Through our partnership with Blue Sky Coffee, 700 kg were roasted and sold in 2009, and that quantity has been surpassed this year. St Pat’s, St Edmund’s and St Laurence’s schools are partnering with us in sharing the story of Just Coffee. Have you tried it? If you are in a position to do so, please consider switching your business or home to this beautiful organic coffee! Not only does it taste great but all the money generated from sales makes a big difference to the Timorese community.
We are also supporting over 50 women through the Timor Cards co-operative to build a sustainable social business enterprise. Spectacular Christmas and occasional cards are produced by these women and then distributed through the TTN network. Cards can be customised for large orders and several organisations are now using these products for their 2010 corporate Christmas Cards. Outlets now include the Queensland Art Gallery, which is a notable recognition of the quality of these beautiful cards.
WHERE TO NEXT?
with photos by Roni Johnson & Kate Kelly-Duke
published January 2011