Category Archives: Special Projects

Time to Draw the Line

Want to know more about the long-running maritime boundary dispute between East Timor and Australia. Come along to a movie night held by Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools.

The  screening of ‘Time to Draw the Line’  will be on  31 July at 8:30 at the Pivotonian Cinema, Geelong.

 Tickets are available by clicking here.


2015 Scholarship Holders

A presentation ceremony for the students awarded scholarships to assist them in continuing their education was organized by Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools Project Officer Mariano De Silva and held on Saturday 6 June at 01 Viqueque School. Our 2015 scholarship holders:

Pre-Secondary School to Secondary School $100 for one year from
01 Viqueque, St Teresinha, Mundo Perdido or Cabira-oan schools:

Noe Soares Pinto, Isabelita Pinto, Sonia da Silva Ribeiro, Andre S. da Costa Guterres, Julia da Silva, Gilmar da Costa da Silva, Jose da Costa Monteiro, Severinha Monteiro, Baltazar M. da Silva, Angelita Gomes, Jose SS. Pinto

Pre-Secondary School to Fatumacca Technical College $1,050 over three years from St Teresinha and 01 Viqueque:

Year 3 Antoninho Soares Pinto – Viqueque 01, Janio Taek – St Teresinha
Year 1 Constancio Amarel Monteiro –

Secondary School to Tertiary Institution $ 500 over three years to University National Timor Leste or UNPAS from Calixa, 4 Septembro, St Estevao or Olocasa schools:

Year 3 Jamie S.Viana, Gizelda Quintao, Lucio Alves
Year 2 Josefina da Silva Soares, Filomena da Silva, Joao Amaral Pereira, Cesaltino Baptista
Year 1 Francisca G. Viegas, Norberto Celestino Soares, Rosalia de Fatima S.Pinto, Sebastiao, Inacio Urbano, Imaculada die Ferreira, Maria Gusmao Alves, Nelson T. Ruas

A Day in Viqueque – a student experience in Geelong

Music, Drums & Dance Workshop

Music, Drums & Dance Workshop

Our fifth annual Day in Viqueque was very well successful with 125 students and 15 teachers  from 11 Geelong schools attending. With sessions relevant to students from primary years to senior secondary the aim was to increase student knowledge of Timor Leste and the lives of students living and learning in Viqueque.

The students could choose to attended four from a range of workshops: Music, Drums and Dance Music in East Timor, East Timorese Food and Cooking, Weaving In and Out, Timor – Land of the Crocodile, Let’s Play – games and activities from East Timor, Letter Writing in Tetum, and I Love Timor – student experiences in East Timor.

There were also presentations from With One Seed a social enterprise that is taking action on climate change through community forestry in East Timor and from Special Guest Chris Van Ignen whose talk on addressing the problems of Global Poverty was once again the highlight of the day.

The feedback from the students and staff confirms that the students enjoyed themselves and came away with a better informed knowledge of life in East Timor.

Many thanks for the success of the day are owed to Patrice Hall, the event coordinator, who spent many hours leading up to this day. She was assisted in the task by Chris Clark, Louise Madden and Peter Cannon. Committee member David Whelan also acted as Games and Play coordinator.

A special thanks must also go to Saint Joseph’s College who make us so welcome to their school and to their many staff who were on hand to help out on the day.

Deb Singleton has small short video snippets from the day on Facebook.

Deakin Geelong-Viqueque Friendship Schools Timor Student Youth Tour

Deakin UniversityDeakin University’s Faculty of Health in collaboration with Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools are investigating the feasibility of coordinating an inaugural Student Youth Tour visit to Timor for a two week period at the end of the 2015 and or 2016 Yr 12 school years.

The visit will aim to provide students with a range of volunteering experiences and action tasks across a range of Government and Community organizations and districts in Timor Leste. This would include visits to and participation in projects being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, Viqueque Friendship Schools and Many Hands International.

As an inaugural pilot program there will be a limited number of student places available for this tour. Applicants will be selected on the quality of their applications as well as the selection criteria to include an appropriate quota of exit year 12 students from a range of participating Friendship Schools across the Geelong area.

An information session for interested Year 11 and 12 students and parents to further discuss details of the Timor Student Youth Tour has now been scheduled. Information session speakers will include Professor John Toumbourou (Deakin University), Mr Peter Cannon (President  Geelong-Viqueque Friendship Schools) as well as Mr Afonso Soares and Mr Simao Do Rosario representatives from the Ministry of Education, Timor Leste.

Timor Youth Tour Information session:

Venue: Western Beach Room Room, Sally Walker Building

Entrance from Western Beach Rd or Cunningham St, take lift to 6th level (Rm AD6.104)

Campus: Deakin Waterfront Geelong (See Campus Map Below)

Date: Tuesday 7 July

Time: 6 to 8pm

RSVP: Mr Chris Loughnan email:

We look forward to seeing all interested parties at this meeting.

Waterfront Campus Map

Waterfront Campus Map

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.

One Week in Timor Leste

In 2012 Michael Wright, the Treasurer of our group and teacher at St Ignatius College, Geelong, was fortunate enough to be awarded the Independent Education Union’s Barry Wood Memorial Grant for projects relating to Social Justice in Education.

His reflection on this experience has been published in this month’s issue of The Point. Michael wrote in that article, “The hope, dreams and optimism for the future the Timorese people possess is truly amazing. One young secondary school student in Dili told me that she and her friends did not have time to socialise as they were the future of their country and as such they must spend their spare time studying, as it’s through education that they can provide a future for their people“.

Read Michael’s article here  or visit the IEU website.

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: