Subject: St John of God Foundation backs young people in East Timor

EUROPE/PORTUGAL - St John of God Foundation backs young people in East Timor supporting education and professional training

Lisbon (Agenzia Fides) - The St John of God Foundation and the Hospital Mission in East Timor have launched a development programme based on the "human capital", young people especially. In July and August the Foundation is promoting a campaign to support education and professional training for young Timorese in the district of Manatuto, 87 km east of the capital Dili.

The Foundation is convinced that the future of East Timor, independent from Indonesia since 2002, is its youth, because more than half the population is under 25 years of age. However political instability, chronic poverty and high unemployment, affecting young people in particular, has given rise to youth gangs and a culture of violence which left 30 people dead and 150,000 homeless between April 2006 and May 2007. The education system is poor, there is w a shortage of qualified teachers in every grade and parents are not in a condition to follow their children's schooling.

The Foundation's campaign has the following main objectives: improve quality of basic instruction; help provide pupils with a sound basic education to prepare them to face the challenges of life; facilitate access to university; improve education at Laclubar secondary school; encourage greater involvement of families and communities in the formation of young people. The programme will assign 15 annual study grants to enable pupils with the best results and children of families with the least resources to attend the National University of East Timor in Dili; the programme will also assign 5 study grants for basic teachers course and open two school libraries and a Toy Library at the Laclubar Community Centre. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 26/7/2007; righe 25, parole 347) 

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