September 25 - October 1, 2011: Issue 25

Top: the Schoolroom. Below this; the toilet. Above: children wearing blankets made by the Soibada Knitters (Avalon). 

Copyright Tamara Sloper-Harding, 2011. All Rights Reserved. 

 Recent Trip to Soibada
Pittwater Friends of Soibada Update
From Tamara Sloper-Harding


Pittwater Council signed in 2010 a Friendship Agreement with the Community of Soibada.
The agreement is in accordance with the guidelines of the Timorese Government under the Friendship Movement Act. It provides a structured basis for Pittwater Community to assist and support the people of Soibada to improve not only their daily lives but also to create sustainable programs for future development of the community.

Any projects to be undertaken must be determined by both the Soibada Community and the Committee of Pittwater Friends of Soibada (PFOS). Guidance will be sought from Government Agencies and NGOs. This will include the District Administrator of Manatuto and Soibada Parish Priest Father Abel Alves Soares and village elders. There will be consultation with the Sydney based Consul General of Timor Leste, Maria Jose de Jesus and His Excellency Abel Guterres, the Timorese Ambassador to Australia will be regularly updated.

A small team from the PFOS Committee visited Timor Leste 13 – 19 September 2011 to cement and maintain the relationship and friendship between the communities and to ascertain the following:
 The immediate and long term needs of the community of Soibada
 Project priority
 Availability of materials and labour
 Logistics issues
An additional task was to film village life for education and publicity purposes in Australia

Team Members:
Tamara Sloper Harding, Chairperson PFOS
Klaus Sandles, Secretary and Project Director, PFOS
Peter Atchison, Building Project Manager PFOS
David Haythornthwaite, General Member PFOS and Filmmaker

The team's proposal was developed together with Father Abel Soares Alves and can be divided into three categories. These must be prioritised and approved by the Pittwater Friends of Soibada Committee before any action is taken.

1. Construction and physical improvements to existing facilities
Classroom floors

2. Hearts and minds
Scholarship Program for senior high school in Dili
Use of local NGOs for education
English Teacher
Blankets and Ponchos
Weaving and handicrafts
Small business development
Concept for building maintenance

3. Major Construction Project
Community Centre

We recommend that several projects run in parallel and that the committee approve the following:

 Research to ensure that no other volunteer or government agencies are planning to undertake the same tasks.
 The immediate raising of funds to have the toilets and floors at the school repaired by local tradesmen.
 Consultation with Government agencies are undertaken in regard to volunteer doctors and teachers spending set periods of time in the village.
 Funds are raised to assist Timor based NGOs to implement training programs in the village.
 The Pittwater community continue with the Wrap with Love project and research the viability of shipping goods (i.e. blankets, books, etc) to Soibada in a 20 ft container.
 The development of plans for the proposed community centre and begin fund raising (Buy a Brick, Build a Future).
 Investigation into the possibility of “hiking” tours.
 Develop several different types of education and information packs that include various versions of David's film.
 Enhance the “Friendship” aspects of the relationship. It is much appreciated by both communities.

Tamara Sloper-Harding is current Pittwater Woman of the year and whom we were fortunate, “as long as it’s about Soibada” to Profile a few months back. If you have the capacity or inclination to help with Services, Donations or Support for this worthwhile project, please contact the Pittwater Friends of Soibada at:

We have heard there will also be a Concert for Soibada at the end of October (28th) and will be able to bring you details in the next Issue.