Category Archives: Health Care

Our Hungry Neighbour

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger globally and by country and region. Calculated each year by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the GHI highlights successes and failures in hunger reduction and provides insights into the drivers of hunger. By raising awareness and understanding of regional and country differences in hunger, the GHI aims to trigger actions to reduce hunger.

Yes, Timor Leste is 9th. Another critical reason for us to maintain our
support for education in Timor Leste.

Major Fundraising Effort in Geelong for the Alola Foundation

Geelong Friends of Viqueque – Alola Foundation Fundraising Dinner


In Timor-Leste, many women lose their lives during childbirth due to limited resources. Approximately one in twenty children in Timor-Leste do not live to the age of five. Alola’s Maternal and Child Health Program seeks to improve the safety and wellbeing of mothers and babies.

The Geelong Friends of Viqueque will be holding a fund raising dinner for the Alola Foundation. Join us for a two course dinner as we raise funds to develop a Mother Support Group in Viqueque.

Dr Kirsty Sword Gusmao AO, former First Lady of Timor-Leste (East Timor) and founder and chair of the Alola Foundation will be addressing the audience with her thoughtful presentation on the struggles faced by women and children in East Timor.

Following this, a Q & A will be held with a panel including Ms Maria Imaculada Guterres, Manager of Maternal and Child Health Programs at Fundasaun Alola of Dili; and Ms Deb Singleton, Science Coordinator at Christian College Geelong.

When: Friday 5 August
Time: 6:30pm
Where: Fred Flanagan Room, Geelong Football Club, Kardinia Park
Costs: Adult (no concessions): $100.00 / (Table of ten): $900.00

Please RSVP by 1 August 2016
For bookings/payment, or more information: Click here or contact Steve Levakis P: 5272 4044 | E:

Nursing Education in Viqueque

Annie Chadwick and Cathie Mahar, nurses from St John of God, were in VQQ in March for 11 days to teach Basic Life Support and hand hygiene.   Thirty-one of a possible forty-three nurses and midwives employed in the sub-district attended training, and the outcomes were very good.

For the first time in the St John of God health capacity building program in VQQ, pre- and post-testing of the training material was performed, and the results showed a satisfying increase in knowledge. The nurses and midwives were required to be able to demonstrate competency to a pass rate of 75% in theoretical knowledge in both training packages, and to demonstrate competency to 100% in the practical skill of basic life support.

The training packets presented were part of a suite of nursing competencies developed by St John of God nursing program at Guido Valdares National Hospital in Dili and approved by the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Science in Timor-Leste.  It is expected the competencies will be an annual requirement for all nurses and midwives in Timor-Leste in keeping with international standards of nursing.

A vaccination fridge supplied by Lions in Geelong was unpacked and placed in the maternity unit at the hospital.  Having the fridge means vaccinations can be kept at VQQ in correct cold chain temperature-controlled conditions instead of being brought by motor bike from Baucau in small lots.    Cathie and Annie had a refreshing break on the beach at Beacu with Madre Fidelia, from the St Francis of Assisi orphanage in VQQ.

Cathie Mahar International Health Project Officer St John of God Geelong

Improving Maternal Health in Timor Leste

Clonard College hosted their very first night market on the 17th of April 2015. It was an amazing turn out and a new tradition Clonard will uphold for the oncoming years. It was an opportunity for Clonard girls and families to show off their arts and crafts skills to our Clonard community. Stalls such as second hand clothing, jewellery, plants and busking where just a number of things offered at the night market.

Not only was it to show of the students, it was also to create awareness for the East Timorese maternal and child health section of the Alola foundation. Through my eye opening and life changing trip to East Timor last year with Clonard we were fortunate enough to visit the Alola foundation. A lady that worked with the Alola Foundation gave us an insight on how high maternal and child mortality rates where, throughout East Timor.

Knowing that we could make a difference by donating $25 dollars, which then goes towards maternal packs for the mothers and the newborn babies, which can then reduce the mortality rates almost made our jaws drop. It’s amazing that such a small amount of money for Australians can save both mothers and babies lives in East Timor.

Despite East Timor having so little the Timorese are very generous, friendly and appreciative. They are determined to work for a brighter future and to educate others which is exactly what the Alola Foundation are doing. I’m proud to say that Clonard raised over $1000 dollars and the students going on the East Timor trip this year will be giving all of the raised money straight into the hands of the Alola Foundation, which will then be given to the deserving mothers of Timor.

The Timorese are very grateful for the donations that are given to them, but they are more appreciative of us supporting them and building strong connections with them knowing we will always be a helping hand, which is something Clonard College proudly does.

Caitlin Bury, C0-Captain Clonard College Year 12

Deakin assisting Timor Leste

Deakin_East_TimorSpecial visitors at the Annual Dinner were Simao do Rosario, Mr Afonso Soares and Thomas Lopes, three Timorese employees of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, and John Toumbourou and Chris Loughnan from Deakin University School of Psychology.

Deakin University Australia and the Ministry of Education Timor Leste have developed a partnership aimed at enhancing the practice, teaching and research related to the planning and delivery of education services within the Ministry of Education. Mr Simao do Rosario and Mr Afonso Soares are assisting to develop this partnership.

Simao and Afonso are undertaking a five week non-award English language course. Following this course they will participate in a further 4 weeks mentor and orientation program with Deakin’s School of Psychology to support their career development in research practices to assist the planning of education services.

Thomas Lopes has been successful in his application to undertake a Health Promotion (tobacco prevention) project with Many Hands International in East Timor. This project will be completed in collaboration with Deakin University Australia. After completing his English language course, Thomas will participate in a further 4 weeks mentor and orientation program with Deakin’s School of Psychology to support his career development in the field of Health Promotion.

All those connected with Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools and Geelong Friends of Viqueque are delighted that Deakin University is now a key player in Geelong’s effort to help in the formal education of our friends in Timor Leste.

Are you a Water Expert with some time spare in May?

Geelong’s Friendship Health group is looking for a Water Technician or Plumber who could volunteer their time on a project in Viqueque.

plumber_vqqThe purpose of the project is to assess problems of water delivery in the town of Viqueque and sub-districts. It is expected that the volunteer would assess the relevant issues and write a report suggesting possible remediation, taking into account the remote location and the limited resources available locally.

The position will need to be self-funded but the cost for air-fares will be donated. It is estimated that the cost to the successful applicant would be around $800.

For more information:

Geelong Grammar assists Friendship Health

Geelong Grammar School (Corio) has recently made a donation of four laptops to Geelong’s Friendship Health group. These laptops will be used by nursing and medical staff at outlying health clinics within Viqueque District. The handover took place at our recent March meeting and the donation was warmly acknowledged.