Category Archives: Literacy

Attend the Trivia Night and Support Timor Leste

Back by popular demand the 2016 Timor Leste Trivia Night is being held on Saturday March 5, 2016 in the St Joseph’s College Gymnasium.  In 2013 it sold out and in 2016 we are hoping for a similar attendance.

There are 30 tables of 10 so why not organise a table from amongst your friends or work colleagues?  It is BYO drinks and shared food and all of the proceeds from the night will be spent on building literacy in Timor Leste, particularly in the District of Viqueque.

Tickets cost $35 and bookings will open shortly.

Support Timor Leste

Platypus Goes to Viqueque

President Peter used the DVD The Platypus: The World’s Most Amazing Animal when he gave 10 lessons to Year 9 English classes in 01 Viqueque and Cabira-oan schools. The students enjoyed the experience. Using a soft toy of the platypus helped, especially how the baby egg ( a tiny piece of white chalk) is cuddled.

It was a great way of telling something wonderful about our country. The two schools have libraries which have been set up by funds provided by Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools and the two new librarians, also funded by us, were both glad to have jobs and being pleased to be part of the schools.

Kardinia International College Visit

The day after your final IB and VCE exam…. OK you’ve got 24 hours to relax and take it easy before getting on a plane to Darwin, sleep a few hours at the airport, then getting on another plane and exit into the tropical heat of Dili. This is how a dozen of Kardinia International College’s year 12 students chose to complete their secondary education.

KIC_1Education of a different sort you might say. Since 2010 Kardinia has been offering the chance to go to a small village in East Timor called Viqueque to volunteer instead of a traditional schoolies trip. This year we carried funds from the Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools to refurbish the Cabira School library, a printer and a very large speaker for 01 Viqueque School. That was the easy part.

For the next 2 weeks we travelled to and from Viqueque and busied ourselves as best we could in the community. Two weeks was clearly not enough time to develop a deep understanding of the Timorese culture but it was enough time to appreciate the beauty of this small country as well as the layers and depth of the issues facing the worlds newest nation.

KIC_3Our physical tasks this year involved painting of the staff administration building and two classrooms at Viqueque one School which was done over 3 days. But as we were to discover, this journey is not a one way event and there was a great deal for our group to learn about the country they had come to. Our immersion into Timorese culture took many forms, from the happy carefree manner in which the local children adopted us as their new playmates, the friendly curiosity of the school students, Sunday mass at the local church, visits to the local swimming spot, soccer game with 01 students and the boundless hospitality of Mariano da Silva (pictured above with Jonathon) and his family. Much of our limited time was spent just seeing how life was and forming relationships with our partner Viqueque schools and the orphanage. Friendships which I hope will continue in years to come. The only negative experience expressed by our students was that they felt they did not do enough, but as I said, it’s not a one way event. In many ways we received as much as we gave and true impact of our visit may not be felt for years, as the future choices and directions our students and Viqueque students may take as a result of our meeting unfold.

KIC_2There was also the more confronting side of Timorese history which no visitor to the country could escape. This included a visit to the village of Kraras, site of a major massacre of hundreds of men and boys in 1983, and the Resistance Museum in Dili which intricately laid out the details of the entire 25 year occupation of the small county. Students were both stunned and moved by the stories and sadness experienced so close to home and so recently. Equally moving was the resilience of the Timorese people and every part of Timor showed signs of a country moving on to create a better future for the next generation. At times the entire country resembled a work site as roads, drains, buildings, power, water and infrastructure were being built as quickly as their economy would allow.

Each of us will carry our own memories of this time we spent together and for each of us the journey will hold a different meaning. I myself felt quite proud to have made new friendships and to have even been a tiny part of this fine nation’s future story.

Jonathan Chapman, Teacher

2014 President’s Report to the AGM

The full transcript of the 2014 President’s Report can be found below in the Newsletter Section. Here is a highlights package!

The Butler Donation

We have had another good year both in Viqueque and Geelong. The highlight has been the commencement of the allocation of funds from the Butler Donation, a most generous gift from John and Gael of $120,000. After significant investigation the funds have been allocated to a Language Project with a significant focus on the training of teachers. We believe that this is at the essence as to how we can best help in the education of students in Viqueque District. The Timor Leste training providers chosen were Mary MacKillop International Literacy Team and The Learning Resource Development Centre both of which are staffed by qualified Timorese teachers, excellent role models for locals. Tricia and I spent considerable time critically discussing with each of their managers the programs delivered and came away with the strong impression that they are effective. We will continue to use both of these providers with modifications to the programs as a result of review.

The Scholarship Program

Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools is delighted to be helping 27 young people to continue with their studies and this year the outlay towards scholarships is $13,400. Formal presentations were made to some of the scholarship holders at 01 Viqueque in the presence of the Principal Agapito. As a one off payment three
teachers received $500 each to assist them with payment towards their thesis as they completed their formal qualifications at the local Cristal University.


Our Treasurer Michael Wright was able to report a most successful financial year. Our work in Viqueque cannot be done without financial support. My sincere thanks to all who have made contributions. The following made donations of $100 or more:

Clonard College $3,000
Essex Primary School $245
Geelong Grammar School $2,000
J.Halloran $100
Rotary Club of Belmont $1,000
Rotary Club of Geelong $4,500
Rotary Club of Geelong West $ 4,845
Sacred Heart College $2,300
St Francis Xavier Primary School $535
The Geelong College $7,447

In Geelong

The following Geelong schools continue to have partner schools in the District of Viqueque. With Geelong schools signing MOUs with Geelong-Viqueque Friendship Schools. A financial commitment has been made by most schools was on average $700.

2nd Compact Teacher Training Program

Mariano Da Silva, the Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools Project Officer, has sent back a report on the second Compact Teacher Training program. The program ran for five days in May and involved four days at four Viqueque schools; Craras, Loihonu, Mamaluc and Uamori schools.

The Monday program as opened by the Director of Education and then sessions that included an overview of the program, discussions about Teaching Methodologies, Questioning Skills, Classroom Management and Child Protection.

The three trainers from Dili ran the remaining four days at different Viqueque schools each day, with a focus on improving literacy and maths skills.

Successful Five Week Teacher Training Program

Teachers attending the Compact Teacher Training Program

Teachers attending the Compact Teacher Training Program

Mariano Da Silva, The Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools Project Officer, has recently sent back his report on the successful 5 week “Compact Teacher Training Program” which we ran in conjunction with The Learning Resource Development Centre from Dili.

The first three weeks of the program involved professional development and the fourth and fifth week allowed teachers the opportunity to demonstrate several assessment tasks in the classroom under observation.

12 teachers participated in the program with over 300 students across Yr 2 -Yr 6 levels benefiting. The program was well planned including a parent workshop and the trainers provided ample opportunities for participants to fully participate. The teachers completed an evaluation report and the feedback was positive with 9 of the 12 teachers receiving a certificate of completion.

We are planning to work with the LRDC to deliver a second program in Loi-Huno later this year.



Teacher Training Program at Loi-Huno

Student Donation from Geelong College

Head of Middle School, Leanne Russell, SRC Leaders and Peter Cannon

Peter Cannon recently received a cheque for $7,447 from the students at The Geelong College. Led by the Middle School SRC team they raised funds to support the schools in Viqueque, particularly their primary partner school Loi-Huno. The funds will be used for a teacher training program conducted at the school by qualified Timorese teachers from the Learning Resource Development Centre, Dili and classroom resources such as, art supplies, Tetum / English dictionaries and musical instruments.