arch 8 - 14, 2020: Issue 441


Pittwater Friends Of Soibada: Celebrating 10 Years

PFOS Committee Members and long term supporters at 2020 AGM

On Facebook:

The Pittwater Friends of Soibada are a diverse group of local individuals who are committed to forging a lasting friendship between communities on Sydney's Northern Beaches and those in the Central Timor Leste province of Soibada.  The key objective is to support the local people in their efforts to achieve sustainable development in their region.  All the projects are initiated by the people of Soibada themselves.

In 2020 FOS are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the official signing of a friendship agreement between Pittwater and Soibada with a great new Newsletter 'Soibada Snapshots' launched yesterday, March 7th, 2020 (you can Subscribe for future Issues) and a very special Songs for Soibada concert scheduled for Saturday September 5th.

Pittwater Online News spoke to Founder and Chairperson, Tamara Sloper Harding OAM, to find out what has been happening and what is coming up in this very special 10th Anniversary year.

What was the inspiration for beginning PFOS? 

To my shame as a child I hadn’t really heard much about Australia’s close neighbour, the tiny half an island known as East Timor. I vaguely remember hearing a little of the story about the Australian journalists, the Balibo Five. It wasn’t until 1999 that I truly came to understand the tragedy that had been playing out on our doorstep for the last 25 years. I was in the Navy and was posted to the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters under the command of General Sir Peter Cosgrove. I was part of the Maritime Element. As a Naval Intelligence Officer I imagined that that is where my service would lie – in the maritime area.  That was not to be – I was land based – and that in itself presented it’s own challenges. 

In the exciting lead up to my wedding I had a feeling we would somehow get involved but it wasn’t until I received the telephone call in the midst of the reception that it finally became a reality. Instead of spending the entirety of my honeymoon with my new husband Adrian I would spend most of it in the burning remains of the city of Dili and the  remote villages in the districts of East Timor.

How or what was the first start of this in our community? 

In 2009 I was speaking to a class of students at Maria Regina Catholic Primary School about ANZAC Day and my life in the Australian Defence Force. The children were very inquisitive and interested in my deployments and operations overseas. To bring the focus back to peacekeeping I told them about my time in East Timor. They were fascinated and obviously moved by the stories of the little children over there. The school then invited me back to speak about Timor because the students wanted to do something to help people over there. With the assistance of the teachers we began the process to identify a school in Timor that Maria Regina could link with. I contacted Kirsty Sword Gusmao (Australian born former first lady of Timor Leste) and His Excellency Abel Guterres the then Ambassador. They both came to speak at school. I remember so clearly after assembly when Abel had been explaining to the children the different types of food he had survived on as a child during the Indonesian occupation, walking over to Avalon RSL for lunch. As we crossed Dunbar Park Abel looked at me and said “You could do so much more than merely linking two schools. You could link the two communities in friendship”.     I shook my head and said “no way” I had four very young children and was flat out.  However, something clicked in me and before we reached the far side of the park I had agreed to do it.

The next step was Abel and I did a Presentation to then Pittwater Council. The Mayor, Harvey Rose, was extremely supportive and the council agreed to link Pittwater with a sub district in Timor Leste. Soibada was chosen as the village in the most need at that time.

I made my first trip back to Timor since 1999 that September. The Pittwater Parish Priest and Principal of Maria Regina, Kathy Gee accompanied me to meet with the village Chiefs and District Administrator.

The following year, 2010 the General manager of Pittwater Council, Mark Ferguson and staff member Jane Mulroney came with Kathy, Father  George and me. We signed the official friendship agreements. One between our two local governments and one between the churches. We came up with lots of names for our group but as we were part of the Australia East Timor Friendship Network the name had to be , Pittwater Friends of Soibada. As support and interest grew it became necessary for us to register with the ACNC and get DGR status.  It is only recently as we have expanded beyond the Northern Beaches that we have dropped the 'Pittwater' from the title in everything but official documents.

What was the approach - self sufficiency and raising funds through a variety of means?

As an organisation we have learnt a great deal since those first visits. Last year was my 23rd time in the village. Soibada is so remote, very isolated and extremely beautiful. That first trip took us nearly 10 hours to get there. Now days though with the brand new road it’s between 4 to 5 hours.

On our first visit we were shocked at the remaining evidence of the conflict…..Our first reaction was to attempt to fix things. We learnt quickly that that was not the way to go. We had to move beyond band-aid solutions and provide the locals with the skills and materials to do things for themselves.

Even more importantly we had to learn to listen to the community – who better would know what they need that the people themselves. I was very conscious of mistakes made in the voluntourism industry and by so many good hearted people who unknowingly perpetrate the “White Saviour Complex”. Empowering people to help themselves is the key to everything we do.

Every project we undertake is guided by the wishes of the local community. They are as varied as teaching CPR, nutrition, English, gardening, computers and sewing to providing the resources for classroom construction and the newly forming tourism business.

We work very closely with each of the village chiefs from the sucos of Soibada, the doctors and the teachers.

Our biggest challenge is fundraising – especially now there is such a need here in Australia with the recent bush firesand drought. In fact, when I explained this to people in Soibada they immediately became concerned for us. There is little they can do to help us – so they prayed for us.

When did the Soibada Knitters begin - also - is it only blankets that have been made/sent?

I feel like the Soibada Knitters have been around forever but I think they began in 2010. The main group used to meet on  Wednesdays in Maria Regina Church Hall. It is now moved to Avalon Beach RSL where the staff are so welcoming and even others patrons show interest in what is going on. Over the years I visited local nursing homes and we had small groups there. It has been a very good way for our community to get involved and contribute and it is a great social activity for a number of the ladies. As I got busier and could no longer run it my Mum took over the organising. She gets a lot of help from the other ladies.

These generous women do a lot more than knit though. We have lots of ladies who crochet and another group in Avalon that embroiders baby singlets and cute little things. Handmade toys are also fantastic too.

Knitting for Soibada - 2nd group in Avalon organised by Dannie Sloper - the ladies meet in Avalon Beach RSL

Soibada is so high in the mountains that it gets quite cold in the winter. In some of the outer sucos even the summer evenings are cold. After we did the first delivery of blankets to the orphanage in 2010 it became obvious how needed and appreciated they were. People in Australia have said to me; “Wouldn’t it be easier/cheaper just to purchase blankets from somewhere like Kmart or Ikea?”  This project is about far more than the donation of a blanket.  The families in Soibada love to receive something personal and made especially for them. Many of the local women are great crocheters themselves but just don’t have the materials. However this means that they truly appreciate the effort and skills required to produce the blankets. One of the most lovely things for the knitters is that I can bring back photos of their blankets in the village. It is amazing as we drive into the sub villages to recognise our blankets drying on the clothesline! 

The Mother and Baby Bags are a relatively new project but have been one of the most successful. In the past women would give birth at home. To encourage them to come to the doctors or midwives we developed a gift bag of  items for a new Mum and Bub. These bags include a handmade blanket, baby clothes, a gift for the Mum and essentials, purchased locally for a new baby. I was astonished last year when I visited the maternity centre and saw that the midwives had every recipient sign for the bag. 

The bi-annual visits to Soibada - please share some of the projects and people who have gone - what were they each doing?

When people show an interest in helping out in Soibada I usually ask what their interests or skills are. The requests from the community in the village are so varied that it provides a wide array of projects – something for everyone. We have had teachers, doctors, nurses, surf life savers, artists, builders, water specialists, plumbers, hairdressers, sewers, knitters,  students, bee keepers, custard apple farmers, photographers, film makers, dancers, women’s health specialists.

PFOS then widened its works to support/encourage autonomy and local industries - a guest house, new high school - please share a little about some of these projects

The Training centre and guest house was the brainchild of the Soibada Parish Priest Father Tiago Soares da Costa. The tourism industry would be a great prospect for this beautiful village and there is a need for suitable accommodation for visitors. The training centre aspect gives us facilities in which to run our programs. It was constructed by local tradesmen and funded by the community of the Northern Beaches, including the Rotary Clubs of the upper Northern Beaches and Ryde. 

The accommodation is fairly basic but it is fine for our volunteers twice a year. Some local women cook for us and give us lessons in making the local dishes. We are developing a cook book and making some very authentic instruction videos. One of our plans is to take tourists on cooking tours to Soibada in the future.

The construction of the hospitality training classroom at the Senior High School was an integral part of the schools focus on developing trades and skills. Tourism is a real possibility and they will need people trained in that industry to make it work.  This building was funded by a combination of groups including Upper Northern Beaches Rotary and many schools on the Northern Beaches. 

The Men’s Workshop in Tasi Fatin was the direct result of a meeting with the young men of that very remote Suco. They wanted somewhere to be taught trade skills and learn some carpentry. Last year donors provided the tools and the locals constructed the building.

The water project at the Maternity Clinic was one of our biggest challenges. Thank goodness the Royal Australian Navy assisted us in shipping the equipment, including an industrial washing machine, from Darwin. 

Staff from Mater Maria Catholic College came to the village to see how we can get students both here and in Soibada more involved with each other in the future.

A Heath focus has remained part of what PFOS supports through such initiatives as care for babies, establishing food gardens (seeds for Soibada) with more variety in vegetables or Days for Girls - what else has there been - and what results have you seen so far? 

Days For Girls one of our most successful programs. We have been distributing the sanitary kits in the village for quite some time now. The Senior High School Principal Joanico da Costa says there has been a marked increase in school attendance from the girls since the project began. They used to miss up to 65 days a year due to their menstrual cycle and the inadequate facilities.

A few years ago the medical staff requested CPR training for the community. Lifesaving NSW, Avalon and Newport Beach Surf Lifesaving Clubs have all had volunteers running very successful programs.

We have also focused on other health needs - everything from clean water and sanitation, to fresh food gardens as well as medical specialists areas. A medical team accompanies Pittwater Friends of Soibada during their July visit each year. 

We are looking to expand the medical program.  The people of Soibada have no access to specialist care such as ENT doctors, dentists, optometrists and dermatologists The doctors of Soibada have requested that we include specialist doctors in our medical team to meet the needs of the people.

We are looking for GPs and nurses as well as specialists who might like to accompany our team to Soibada - those who would like to contribute can contact me (Tamara) to discuss.

What skills do you need for other projects?

We need volunteers for our Fundraising committee, we always need CPR teachers and people willing to take on management of a particular project and be the main conduit with the village.

How can people help or get involved?

Becoming a Member of the PFOS is great - donations are all tax deductible, so even if people cannot get physically involved they can help with the costs involved with the various projects - our 'buy a brick' program a few years back underlines everyone can help out. People can help here or there – the village needs tourists but it is very rough.

Any queries - please contact:

Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM
Ph: 0403 226 699

Also Available

Pittwater Friends of Soibada Profile  Tamara Sloper Harding OAM Veteran 

September 2011 Pittwater Friends of Soibada Update from Tamara Sloper-Harding

May 2012 Update from Pittwater Friends of Soibada Chairlady, Tamara Sloper Harding

Our Lady of Aitara, The Marian Shrine of the Timorese People by Tamara Sloper Harding 

Songs For Soibada II: Local Musical Theatre greats wow Pittwater Songs for Soibada II Pictorial

Timor Leste Independence Day 2011 at Maria Regina School : a day to celebrate and be educated in  what children in their sister village, Soibada, experience.

Maria Regina Celebrates Timor-Leste's 10th Anniversary of Independence 2012

Timor Leste Independence Day Celebrations at Maria Regina Avalon - 2013

Pictures  Lenda Lafaek    Timor: short history.

Soibada Knitters Group: Avalon based Community 'hands on' project to keep children warm.

Pittwater Friends of Soibada Fly Out Today 15th of July, 2012

Beatrice’s War: Timor Leste’s First Feature Film in the Native Tongue‏ by Steve Meacham

Soup for Soibada - Consul Fonseca Dos Santos Pereira enjoys homemade soups in Avalon

Heavenly Songs in Soibada by Steve Meacham

Bloodshot Premiere by Steve Meacham

Songs For Soibada III - May 17 - 2013   Songs For Soibada III Pictorial

Mission Project Workshop by Tamara Sloper Harding

Soibada Priests Visit Pittwater by Tamara Sloper Harding

Water in Timor Leste by Tamara Sloper Harding

Soibada Visit - July 2013 by Tamara Sloper Harding

Tasi Fatin, a small village in Soibada, warmed with love from knitters in Pittwater! by Tamara Sloper Harding

Clean Water For Soibada by Tamara Sloper Harding

A different way of experiencing the world… by Lucinda Rose 

Timor Leste Day at Sacred Heart School Mona Vale

Atop Rocky Mountains In Tasi Fatin by Lucinda Rose

The Village of Soibada by Lucinda Rose

PFOS - Avalon Market Day by Lucinda Rose

The Process of Sustainabilizing Sanitation by Lucinda Rose

Our Lady Of Aitara Mass – Or, Getting Sun Burnt In The Shade by Lucinda Rose 

As Experimental Tourists / The Only Tourists (for no one holidays in Timor) by Lucinda Rose

Sister Manuela by Lucinda Rose 

The Women’s Craft Cooperative by Lucinda Rose

A Vision For Worldwide Women's Craft by Lucinda Rose

A Vision for the Women’s Craft Collective Continued…  by Lucinda Rose (PFOS)

Sister Ella by Lucinda Rose

Adriano De Costa by Lucinda Rose (PFOS)

Sustainable Soibada by Lucinda Rose

The Art Of Painter Patricio by Lucinda Rose

Malae Bulla – Crazy Foreigner by Lucinda Rose 

The Seminarians Of Soibada by Lucinda Rose

We’re Talking About Food by Lucinda Rose 

The Music Of Soibada Lucinda Rose

Pittwater Friends of Soibada Update – April 2014 by Tamara Sloper Harding

ANZAC Day 2014 Commemorative  Services at Avalon Beach RSL - Dawn Service and 11am March and Service Pictorial

ANZAC Day 2014 - Dawn Service and Commemorative Service and Address at Avalon Beach R.S.L Club

Pittwater Parish Schools Celebrate Timor Leste's Return to Independence Day by Tamara Sloper Harding 

Lucinda Rose Profile

Thank You Pittwater – From Soibada by Tamara Sloper Harding, Chairperson, Pittwater Friends of Soibada Inc

Front Page Issue 177

Safe Water in Soibada Thanks to Pittwater Catholic Parish Primary Schools and TankPro by Tamara Sloper Harding, Chairperson - Pittwater Friends of Soibada Inc

Royal Motor Yacht Club: Broken Bay - Ladies Luncheon September 2014 - Speaker: Tamara Sloper Harding

Great news for Pittwater’s sister village Soibada in Timor Leste(Info Evening, everyone welcome, Monday 8 December) by Tamara Sloper Harding

ANZAC Centenary Commemoration Service - Warringah and Mackellar Federal Electorates April 19th, 2015 at Warriewood: transcription of Governor of New South Wales' Address and ANZAC CENTENARY PROLOGUE by Mr. Bill Hardman

ANZAC Day 2015: Avalon Beach RSL Sub-Branch's Dawn Service and 11am March and Commemoration Service - Hon. Robert Stokes Commemoration Address

Sister Lourdes, Mana Lou by Tamara Sloper Harding - Renowned activist Nun from Timor Leste, Peace Prize winner, Speaks at the Rotary Club of Pittwater 20th of May

2015 Pittwater Community Service Award – Commodore Graham Sloper (RAN Rtd.), President of Avalon Beach RSL Sub-Branch+ Community Leaders High Tea

Pittwater’s Sister Village, Soibada in Timor Leste - Update 1/2015 by Tamara Sloper Harding

Clean water for the children of Salau School in Soibada! by Tamara Sloper Harding, Chairperson, Pittwater Friends of Soibada Inc: PFOS is looking for a self-funded volunteer able to travel to Soibada, to assist with the water project in October

Buy A Brick Build My Future Fundraiser: Pittwater’s Sister Village by Tamara Sloper Harding

Youth For Soibada by Tamara Sloper Harding - New members are very welcome

The latest news from Pittwater’s Sister Village, Soibada, Timor Leste by Tamara Sloper Harding, Chairperson, Pittwater Friends of Soibada Inc

Pittwater Friends of Soibada 2015 Year End Report by Tamara Sloper Harding, Chairperson, Pittwater Friends of Soibada

Soibada Student Wants To Be Educated In Pittwater: Let’s Help Her by Tamara Sloper Harding, Chairperson, Pittwater Friends of Soibada

Soibada Children Need a Senior High School: Let's Build One! by Tamara Sloper Harding OAM

Help Tamara Honour Aussie Debt To The Timorese With Education by Pittwater Friends of Soibada

Pittwater Friends Of Soibada 2017 Focus Is On Building A Senior High School: A Catch Up With Tamara Sloper Harding OAM

Anzac Day In Pittwater 2017: Pittwater RSL and Avalon Beach RSL Commemorative Dawn and 11 A.M. Services: Address given by Jason Falinski MP for Mackellar Photos by Sandra May, Julie Hegarty, Sally Mayman, Rebecca Fitzgerald and Alison Guesdon

Newport Lifesavers Set For Foreign Adventure by Surf Life Saving NSW - travelling to Timor Leste through Newport's initiative to give back to the community and support the Pittwater Friends of Soibada - Canapes for a Cause on July 6th at the surf club, please RSVP by June 30

Days For Girls In Avalon For PFOS from Peta Wise

Anzac Day in Pittwater 2018

Songs for Soibada 2018: Great Musicians = Great Music + Food + Auction Items means a Great Night Friday May 19th at BHS!

Pittwater Friends Of Soibada July 2018 Visit: Fundraising To Get The People and Medical Supplies We Need To Take Over - by Tamara Sloper Harding OAM

Soibada – Our Sister Village by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Soibada - Maternal and Child Health by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Soibada Training Centre and Guest House + Soibada and our ANZAC Links by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Days For Girls (Part 1) – Soibada by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Days For Girls (Part 2) – Soibada by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Days For Girls (Part 3) – Soibada by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Vocational Training In Soibada by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Soibada - Projeto Montanha by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Seeds For Soibada (Drop off points for sealed packets to grow food + Info Evening this week) by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Soibada Update – Maternity Clinic by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Soibada Update – Baby Bags, Maternity and More! by Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Projects: An Overview Of What Has Been Done So Far


Training Centre/Guest House

The new Training Centre and Guest House is the first building project undertaken by Pittwater Friends of Soibada.   We have been very excited to see it taking shape over the past 12 months.

The construction of the building has been undertaken by the local community.  The people of Soibada have access to resources and tradesmen.  It is a much better use of resources for them to employ local tradesmen and use local products.  This way we assist in stimulating the local economy by providing jobs and purchasing local materials.  It also gives people a sense of ownership of the facilities that we fund.

Requested by the local community, the building costs so far have been funded both through our own fundraising and  through our partnership with Upper Northern Beaches Rotary Club and donations from RSL LifeCare, the war veterans at Narrabeen. Quotes from local builders were around $30,000 – $40,000.  

The Workshop in Tasi Fatin 

Tasi Fatin is a remote sub village of Soibada. It is a two hour drive away from the centre of town.  It has no electricity, relies on solar power and generators, and becomes completely isolated in the wet season. FOS has been supporting the families there with the help of Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Monavale and members of the Northern Beaches community, with a variety of projects over the years. These include;  water projects, medical assistance, gardening and nutrition, blankets and baby clothes, educational assistance and the establishment of a craft cooperative and business for the women. 

Last year the young men approached me for help with a project for them. They want to learn carpentry and other trades. They asked for funding to build themselves a workshop where our volunteers could come an run short courses. There was much thought into the drawing up of the plans which include a sewing room for the women, an office space for FOS and a main workshop area for the men. Construction is now almost complete and the first training sessions will commence this July. Last year tools were donated and delivered by Peter Randazzo.

Water And Sanitation

Rob  Romer is the Water Sanitation Projects manager for  Pittwater Friends of Soibada.   We are blessed to have Rob Romer as one of our volunteers.

Over the past few years Maria Regina Catholic Primary School and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School raised money to purchase the equipment needed and Rob took it to Soibada and installed Tank Pro water sterilising units in water tanks in the clinic and the schools in villages in Soibada ensuring that safe drinking water is available.

During the July 2015 visit Rob oversaw the installation of two new water tanks at the Salau Primary School and connected drinking water tanks for the children.

The TankPro water sterilising unit has been developed to provide assistance for the eco-friendly reuse of stored and collected water.

It is an environmentally friendly product that will maintain a body of water, in rain water & grey water collection tanks,  free from the buildup of harmful micro-organisms, bacteria & viruses.

Powered by a solar power unit, TankPro is a stand alone product that sterilises stored & collected water and maintains the stored & collected water in a sterile condition, without the use or addition of dangerous chlorine chemicals or biocides to the stored water system.

The Tank Pro system has helped achieve some of the health outcomes that Pittwater Friends of Soibada are working to implement in Soibada.

TankPro TP250

The TankPro TP250 unit has been designed to suit the growing needs of water sanitation within home rainwater and grey water tanks. It simply sits in the water, eliminating water borne disease and bacteria commonly found in these tanks such as debris and catchment load, fecal coliforms (bird droppings) and Tannin staining.

The TankPro TP250 water recycling sterilising unit has been developed to provide assistance for the eco-friendly reuse of stored water. It is a stand alone sterilising unit that will decisively kill all human harmful micro-organisms, bacteria and viruses commonly found in stored or collected water. With the ability to provide a sanitised collected water environment as a stand alone product that can run on mains power, car or motorbike battery, solar or wind turbine power.


•The TankPro TP250 water recycling sterilising unit has been developed to provide assistance for the eco-friendly reuse of stored water. It is a stand alone sterilising unit that will decisively kill all human harmful micro-organisms, bacteria and viruses commonly found in stored or collected water. With the ability to provide a sanitised collected water environment as a stand alone product that can run on mains power, car or motorbike battery, solar or wind turbine power.

•TankPro is a first, one of a kind, patent pending product designed to eliminate the need to sanitise collected water with additional chemicals which effectively harm the environment.

•TankPro sanitises grey water also by killing off the dangerous bacteria found in collection tanks, grey water must be treated within 24 hours and always before use in the garden and around homes. Also important is the decontamination of grey water prior to any possible leak into estuaries or creeks.

•TankPro uses the minerals within these tanks to sanitise the environments, rainwater for consumption and grey water for safe cross over and interaction, as well no environmental impact issues.

•Environmentally friendly, portable, easy to maintain, can be used all over the world and is capable of running off mains power (via the small TP250 PowerPack), solar power wind turbine and car or motorbike battery power in times of emergency.

•TankPro is committed to manufacturing, designing and developing high quality sanitation units that produce a Sterilising Biocide manufactured by the low voltage emission using electrolysis, converting the mineral salts within the actual stored water, sanitising the stored water environment onsite.

•The production of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCL) by the TankPro TP250 unit produces an optimal result in recycling, treating, sterilising, disinfecting water stored in rainwater tanks, grey water storage tanks, portable water containers and aerated waste water treatment systems. With the reuse of already available minerals within the collected water TankPro is totally environmentally friendly, portable, easy to use and maintain with world wide electrical approvals.


Literacy Program

So many children in Soibada are learning to read and write.  They are such keen learners but the schools are very under resourced with very little reading material available.  One project that we are delighted to have underway is our literacy program.  The program was instigated by Jen Cincotta, one of our members who is a dedicated teacher.  Working in conjunction with Mona Vale library, our goal is to put books into all the schools in Soibada.   The children speak Tetun (the local Timorese language) and Portuguese.  Their schooling is conducted in Portuguese.  Therefore all the books that we donate will be in their local languages.  We purchase the books in Dili and deliver them to the schools in Soibada during our regular visits to Timor Leste.  Eventually, we envisage that the program will extend into the  establishment of a Reading Room in the Village where people can come and read books and publications in their free time.

Mona Vale library ran a program to fund the purchase of books.   This program enabled our first purchase of hundreds of books that were delivered to Soibada.

Youth For Soibada

We want to facilitate the growth of the friendship between the young people of Australia and Soibada, Timor Leste.   We are developing  projects specifically for the young people of Soibada. 

In July 2015 Addie Dedden and Maya Burton, two  members of Youth for Soibada traveled to Timor Leste  and met with high school students at Nicolau Lobato High School.   In Soibdada, they constructed the needs assessment at the high school to find out what was needed and if the students had any suggestions on how to better their education. 

They found the main most immediate need was for simple objects. More chairs and desks are needed as students currently sit more than one person at each.  Another need was for books (english) and equipment for their love of sport (basketball and football). 

They also are really keen on the idea for a bridge across the river to link Soibada with the roads to the rest of Timor Leste so that they can cross during the wet season (8 months of the year).

Both Maya and Addie belong to ENACTUS at UNSW which is a group that designs projects for underprivileged countries/communities and then applies for funding to support those projects.  They are now working hard to raise funds for projects in Soibada.

Youth for Soibada are really focused on building a relationship between both youth communities and have been keeping in touch with the kids and teenagers from Dili and Soibada.  They welcome any new members who might be interested in joining their group.

Projects In 2014

  • Friendship Schools – several more schools in Pittwater have linked to schools in Soibada.  In Australia the students celebrate Timor’s Restoration of Independence Day and raise money for projects. This year’s focus was water.  TankPro water santisers were installed in several locations in Soibada.
  • Education – reading room literacy books from Abut Timor and McKillop
  • Youth of Soibada
  • Relationship and friendship enhancement through dance, craft at the request of the youth of Soibada.
  • Hiam health – nutrition and community gardens
  • Fksh – small business for women
  • Computer training
  • Involvement of the Sydney Timorese Community
  • Training Centre and Guest house construction
  • Medical teams and equipment
  • Partnership with universities
  • Volunteer Translators, Timorese students from Dili University accompany the team and also conduct English lessons in the village.
  • Custard Apple Plantation
  • Crochet craft business
  • Bee Keeping
  • Craft workshops – bead making
  • Partnered with The Pacific Future Foundation in order to build a bridge in Soibada (ongoing)
  • Hairdressing classes.
  • Distribution of “Days for Girls” hygiene kits.
  • Art lessons with Soibada’s resident Artist (A fine arts student assisted Particio da Cruz Quintao to structure a course for “tourists” to spend a few days in Soibada Guesthouse, “Paint with Patricio” and do cooking and craft classes with the local women. A trial was conducted and a program will commence on completion of the guesthouse.

Projects In 2015

  • Computers for teachers
  • Sponsorship of seminarians
  • Water Sanitisation 
  • The installation of guttering, water tanks, solar panels and Tank Pro sanitation equipment to Salau School.
  • Check water sanitation and tankpro in Tasi Fatin.
  • Soibada Youth Needs Assessment. 
  • Interviews and video recording with Soibada youth. (Consultation between Soibada and Pittwater youth has already been underway on the “Youth for Soibada” Facebook Page.)
  • Partnership with ENACTUS and UNSW
  • Coffee Project
  • Development of the coffee project in Salau as requested by Father Tiago. 
  • Small Business development – 
  • Hair Dressing Classes
  • Review of Training Centre and Guesthouse project, construction site inspection and planning meetings for hospitality training.
  • Discussions with community leaders to prioritise future tasks.
  • Women’s craft development meetings.
  • New High School Project
  • Planning meetings for the new High School Project. (This will become Friends of Soibada’s main fundraising effort in 2016.)
  • Friendship school visits.
  •  (Already 4 schools in Pittwater are linked with schools in Soibada – the aim is to link every school in Soibada with a school in Pittwater.)
  • The Soibada Pittwater Foster Student Scheme – 
  • the pilot program has commenced
  • Sewing Machines
  • Blankets
  • Oxygen regenerators
  • Preschool project development.
  • Days for Girls Partnership
  • Partnership with “Days for Girls” with a view to training the women of Soibada to produce hygiene kits.
  • Dance classes as requested.