Curriculum Ideas for Timor Leste

curriculum_ideasWith One Planet has launched a new website funded by the xpand foundation, which contains curriculum resources for Australian schools. It provides opportunities for teachers to engage students in single or cross-disciplinary areas of study, and explores climate change issues through the science, English, maths, geography, history, art, civics and citizenship curriculums.

The Culture and Citizenship modules focus on Timor-Leste. Katrina Langford, who attended our Student Day has written the culture modules. She would welcome feedback from teachers. Katrina conducts Tetun courses. In Melbourne the next Level 1 course takes place on- 6/7 June. and in Sydney there is a Level 2 course on 12/13 June. You can contact Katrina via email address at

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

A Life That Matters

John_Butler_photoJohn Butler 1941 – 2015

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
Then will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten,
will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived.
At the end, whether you were beautiful or brilliant,
male or female, even your skin colour won’t matter.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built,
not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion,
courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew,
but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories,
but the memories that live in those who loved you.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.

A poem written by Michael Josephson and included in the service to commemorate the life of John Butler.

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

John Olding Butler 26/11/41 – 10/05/15

JOHN BUTLER: Our deepest sympathy to Gael and family. A gentle and thoughtful man whose strong commitment to social justice continues as part of his legacy to Timor Leste. President and Committee, Geelong Viqueque Friendship Schools. Read the In Memoriam published in The Geelong Advertiser, Saturday May 16th.