Subject: Australia Preschool sponsors Timor kinder (and more)

Also: Award for good citizens and Julia heads north to give East Timor a helping hand

Cranbourne Leader (Australia)

July 7, 2004 Wednesday

Preschool sponsors Timor kinder

CRANBOURNE'S Woodbine Rd Preschool has become Victoria's first preschool to sponsor an East Timor kindergarten.

The sponsorship deal stems from a year-long association with a preschool in Gleno.

Woodbine Rd Preschool formed a bond with the Gleno facility last year through the Friends of East Timor Association.

Woodbine Rd Preschool director Judith Kierce said the idea was to increase the level of global awareness of children at each preschool.

"We have seen the results in acceptance, compassion and a willingness to help others that is demonstrated in children who are just three and four years of age, an important age to form views on the world around them," she said.

"The reality is that not all children in the world are as fortunate as our children and the children were initially shocked that simple things we take for granted in our preschool like blocks, crayons, paper and puzzles, are not present in their (Gleno) preschool."

The centre started its sponsorship commitment by raising more than $200 from a pyjama party and football day on June 24.


Echo (Free Suburban)

July 8, 2004 Thursday

Award for good citizens

PROVIDING racquets, nets and balls to children in East Timor has earned the Highton Tennis Club a local sporting award.

The club has been named the July winner of Leisure Networks' Sport Leadership Award in the Excellence in Club Citizenship category.

The club recently donated tennis equipment which was added to a container of goods transported to East Timor by the Geelong Lions Club.

The project not only provided recreational and sporting opportunities for the people of East Timor but also made junior club members more aware of the issues children face in the neighbouring country, which is struggling to rebuild.

Leisure Networks' Caroline Jordan said the project showed how a local sporting club and a community organisation could work together to provide assistance and support.

Anyone wanting to nominate a Geelong region sporting club for a Sports Leadership award can call Leisure Networks on 5222 3911.


Weekly Times (Australia)

July 7, 2004 Wednesday

Julia heads north to give East Timor a helping hand

Felicity Lunghusen

An Echuca schoolgirl has joined the quest to rebuild an Australian neighbour. Felicity Lunghusen reports

While most girls her age live for their music, shopping and magazines, Julia Sutton has another focus.

The 16-year-old Echuca schoolgirl is more concerned about the developing country of East Timor.

Twelve days ago, Julia and her dad, Peter, left for the newly independent nation north west of Australia where he will help rebuild an orphanage.

Julia, who takes Indonesian studies at school and speaks the language, will act as interpreter and will also teach English to Timorese orphans.

The aspiring architect expects to face a big learning curve on their two-week trip.

"I expect it will be hard as the lifestyle and culture is so different," Julia says.

A quest to rebuild a country is often saved for government and military ranks, but Rotary has also joined in.

Project co-ordinator for Rotary's building projects in East Timor, Eaglehawk's Leon Scott, says when the organisation's district governor suggested they help rebuild East Timor, the Carmelite Sisters approached them about the orphanage in Dili.

That was when Peter became involved.

Last May, with his wife, Rhonda, he went to lend his building expertise on the orphanage site.

The trip sparked friendships and a commitment to help a struggling nation of poor people, 46 per cent of whom are aged under 14.

"It is an amazing experience and the people are friendly and appreciative," Peter says.

"Timor is close to Australia so it is the ideal place to go to and if we are going to help someone we may as well help someone on our door step."

Rotary needed more volunteers with building skills for its Dili projects so, upon returning, Peter approached the Master Builders Association of Victoria. "They were very keen and we now have 25 builders who are interested in travelling over," he says.

"It is open to anyone interested and they need handy people. "You come back and realise how lucky we are.

"I think everyone should experience it."

With their favourite hammer, saw and drill in hand and any other tools they can get their hands on, Peter and five other MBAV builders from Mansfield, Campbells Creek and Drysdale will complete the orphanage with the help of the East Timorese.

The locals will also learn arithmetic, measurement, building and welding, while working on building projects, in the hope that they can get jobs.

More volunteers will travel to work on Rotary's next project -- extending a school at Balibar, near Dili -- later this year. The school was virtually destroyed in the carnage that broke out in the country's struggle for independence in the 1990s. Just three rooms were left for 266 students.

Rotary's assistance began about 18 months ago when more than 3000 day-old chickens and materials to build fish hatcheries were sent.

"We felt we needed to help get some protein back into their diet because they were surviving on vegetables," Leon says.

Since then Rotary has sent more than 100 containers filled with donated goods, working with the Alola Foundation, established by East Timor's first lady, Kirsty Sword Gusmao, who is originally from Eaglehawk.

Notable materials include $5000 worth of plaster, $2000 worth of tools and other odds and ends, more than 700 sewing machines and tonnes of material, $30,000 for vinyl, $5000 for plumbing and piping and 30 dairy cows.

Contributions have snowballed, although more are needed, according to Leon.

"It is really highlighting that the element of human compassion is very strong," he says.

"And we need to have compassion and help those in need in East Timor because the carnage which was so close to Australia should not have happened.

"It might only be a drop in the ocean but if they don't get any help from us, who else will help?

"Their total budget is $130 million which would be the same as two councils in Victoria.

"One day at the footy and you could feed a child for two and a half months or pay their school fees for a year."

Leon says East Timor is being rebuilt from scratch.

"Most of the people's belongings were wrecked and burnt," he says. "People don't realise the carnage. They (the Timorese) are living in appalling conditions."

But the conditions don't worry Julia.

"I think I'll like it a lot and come back appreciating things more as we take so much for granted," she says.

* Kirsty Sword Gusmao will address a fundraising dinner for the Alola Foundation at the Moama Bowling Club on August 13. Tickets are $25. Details: Rhonda Sutton, phone (03) 5482 5251. Tickets: 1300 666 535.

* Those wanting to donate goods, money or to volunteer can contact Leon Scott on (03) 5446 8498 or

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