March 27 - April 2, 2016: Issue 257

 Soibada Children Need a Senior High School: Let's Build One!

 Soibada Children Need a Senior High School – and we will help them get one!

The Need. In the past, once the children in Soibada finished Junior high school they had to move to Manatuto or Dili, 4 or 6 hours away from home, if they wanted to complete their education. The majority however found this impossible. Then a couple of teachers and some volunteers set up school in some old dilapidated buildings and some palm walled huts. They have been teaching classes in these the last few years. Our own Jill Gavin, a parishioner at Sacred Heart, has volunteered there as a teacher. Last year, ex Mater Maria Catholic College students Maya Burton and Addie Dedden, with current student Isabeau Harding, visited the school and talked to the students about the type of education they want! They want to learn, they want to study and they NEED a school!

The Good News. Last week we were given some fantastic news. Friends of Soibada will receive a grant towards building the senior high school in Soibada. The Farrell Family Foundation has pledged $40,000 towards the school if Pittwater Friends of Soibada can match it! This is an amazing opportunity! 

Why? Quality education and professional training have a strategic importance that influences all other development sectors. It is a vital for the social and economic development of Timor-Leste and its future of prosperity and dignity.  There is a dire need in Soibada for a new school building with adequately equipped classrooms, better and more teachers and learning materials, and improved access to modern communication means for a larger number of pupils.

During the period of Indonesian occupation 90% of school infrastructure was destroyed. There are high rates of illiteracy and extreme poverty. The country has one of the highest rates of population growth in the world and the average age is only 17. Children face huge challenges in their right to life, survival and development. Rapid population growth has created a significant future demand for more teachers, classrooms and education spending throughout Timor Leste. 

This project will provide Soibada with an appropriate local senior high school facility that will increase the percentage of students continuing school after primary school and junior high school, currently limited by cost and lack of infrastructure. The building will be constructed by qualified local builders and tradesman and create numerous jobs in Soibada.

The school will follow the national curriculum set by the Timor Leste Minister of Education. A new educational curriculum and a uniform pedagogic guidance program are currently being implemented throughout the schools and the new senior high school in Soibada will be well equipped for its implementation.

The Challenge! Can you help us raise the matching funds? 

Tell your friends about our Chuffed Crowd funding Campaign; it is easy to donate by going to the website:

Come to the movie night on Wednesday 30 March - See BATMAN vs SUPERMAN at Warriewood Cinema (7pm)

Buy a Brick for the School:

Perhaps you’d like to organise a fundraising event – something as simple as morning tea.

Thank you again for your support.

Tamara Sloper Harding OAM

Chairperson, Pittwater Friends of Soibada Inc

Ph: 0403 226 699