August 08, 2012
Mary MacKillop International in Timor-Leste will open its new Education and Training Centre in Dili, Timor-Leste today, the Feast Day of St Mary MacKillop.
The Centre will provide a valuable asset for delivery of the teacher training in literacy, music and health education throughout Timor-Leste.
Mary MacKillop International, which was begun by the Sisters of St Joseph, has worked in Timor-Leste since 1993 when, under Indonesian occupation, Bishop Carlos Belo requested their help with support for education and health initiatives for the Timorese people. In undertaking this work “ We have a longstanding commitment to supporting Timorese people to build up their society through education,” said Susan Connelly rsj Education Program Director
Education is vital to the ongoing prosperity of Timor-Leste where more than half the population of 1.1 million people is under the age of 19 and 42% of adults over 15 years is unable to read and write in either of the two official languages.
In response to this need Mary MacKillop International has produced the first and currently only, sequential program for the teaching of reading in the Tetun language for primary school children.
To date, more than 10,000 copies of books and teaching resources have been produced in Tetun and made available throughout Timor-Leste. Hundreds of pre-primary and primary teachers have participated in literacy training using the resources conducted in Dili and many rural locations.
The training which will now be carried out in the new centre, has been adopted by more than 200 teachers in 63 primary schools and 37 pre-primary schools benefitting more than 10,000 children in the Dili and Maliana areas.
The building of the new Centre reflects the close relationship between the people of Australia and Timor-Leste with work conducted jointly by a local building company, Community Housing Ltd staffed by Timorese workers and Australians working together, supported by funding provided by public Australian donations. “The Centre is a vivid indication of the generosity of so many Australians who have supported this work for so long and without whose generosity it could not continue,” said Susan Connelly rsj Education Program Director.
Donate now to help support people of Timor-Leste on the road to prosperity.
Make your donation online www.marymackillopinternational.org.au
Media Contact: Cath Leary 0409565799
International Programs Director