The Cowra Rotary Club has undertaken to support a project in East Timor for the establishment of an Education and Fitness Centre in Dili.
The project was initiated by two women Rotarians, who were AFP Officers assigned to Timor for three years to help during Timor’s civil unrest following the invasion by Indonesia.
On their return to Australia, they wanted to do something to help the young people in that part of the world.
In the last twelve months, they have established the Timor Learning Centre.
They started their fund-raising by walking from Martin Place in Sydney to Parliament House in Canberra, receiving over $30,000 of donations. The Centre has been built from the ground up using Timorese people.
Xanana Gusmao, Patron of this project (and past President of Timor) is confident the Centre will make a “substantial contribution to the Timorese youth in the Comoro community.”
Timor is our closest neighbour and has been declared the poorest nation on earth (per capita) by the UN.
Only one child from each family can attend school as a consequence of infrastructure destruction during their conflicts.
This little Centre provides learning to kids that would otherwise receive none.
A Plus Fitness Gym in Timor-Leste was recently opened, as part of the Centre.
From an original concept of Libby Bleakley and Teresa Beck and with a lot of hard work, help and support, the centre is now up and running. 130 members have enrolled in the first two days of being open.
The Rotary Club of Cowra are proud to have been involved with this project, with monies donated toward the purchase of gym equipment.
The Timor Learning Centre was started to address the problems of violence and domestic abuse in the community and to offer skills for a more balanced way of life.
‘We laugh and play the entire 2 hours… they are learning English that will make a difference in their world. They then have the job of going home and teaching their families and friends...” Libby said.
We are fortunate to have been born into the best country in the world, but life for kids in Timor is a struggle every day. They see being able to use English as a doorway to a fulfilling life and the outside world.