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Scotch Oakburn College’s Inspiring Commitment to their Timor Leste Partner School

This month, the second group of staff and student representatives from Scotch Oakburn College headed to Timor Leste to visit their partner school, Maliana One High School. We were thrilled that Principal Andrew Barr also joined the group and signed a pledge of commitment and service to the College’s partner community.

It was another remarkable journey, filled with highlights and milestones. The first morning in Maliana brought dancing at 5:00am with the students from the Encouragement House, before the group headed out to watch the Tour De Timor bike race through the town. Each day was filled with lots of English language tutoring- working in small groups at the Encouragement House and at Maliana One, and the Scotch Oakburn teachers also ran a session for pre-service teachers at the local university. One evening, the group shared dinner with a local family just outside Maliana, who are campaigning to get a library built in a nearby village. This is an amazing project that we hope we will be able to gain Australian support for.

Following their first visit in 2011, the Scotch Oakburn College community raised an amazing $3,000 for their partner school. The group had the privilege of donating the funds on behalf of the community, which will enable Maliana One to install fresh drinking water for their 1300 students and 55 staff. The group also worked hard to set up an IT system for the Maliana teachers, including an internet connection, 2 computers and 1 printer, as well as contributing educational resources to the school. This support was in direct response to the areas of need identified by Maliana One, and was an extremely exciting journey to be a part of.

Funds from the group’s visit and Destination Dreaming were also used to buy materials and pay local builders to construct another student shelter for the new dormitory ‘Kookaburra’. The shelters have proved to be a real hit and it was great to see the students (from both Scotch Oakburn and the Encouragement House) assisting the builders to prepare the site and foundation.

At the conclusion of the 10 days, 18-year-old Kathleen said ‘I have learnt that giving is a truly fantastic experience and that making a change in one person’s life, changes the world for them. I had the best week of my life and as a result will endeavour to share and continue to give for the rest of my life.’

Scotch Oakburn teacher Tania Deguara said, ‘once again the experience was incredible. Cultural awareness, global understanding, problem solving and collaboration are essential skills to have to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. A Destination Dreaming program provides an excellent opportunity for young people to learn about and experience the challenges, hopes and possibilities of another culture and in turn learn about the ways they as young people in Australia can shape the world they want to live in.’

A huge thank-you to the entire Scotch Oakburn College community, particularly coordinating teachers Andrew French and Tania Deguara, for another amazing adventure.

UN Youth Delegates Experience International Development In Action

What is the best way to learn about the United Nations and the life of an international aid worker? As ten teenagers recently discovered, by downing the textbooks and immersing themselves in a developing country.

Destination Dreaming led the annual United Nations Youth Australia Pacific Project for the fourth consecutive year in July, facilitating a program for 10 teenagers selected from schools across Australia. The youth delegates travelled to Timor Leste to learn about our close neighbour and see development in action.

The program was designed to provide the young people with a deep insight into community-driven development, which included:

  • Morning tea with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and observing the national elections;
  • Meeting with AusAid and the Alola Foundation established by Australian woman Kirsty Sword Gusmao;
  • Living at the Encouragement House, a highland boarding house for rural Timorese students;
  • Hearing from members of the UN Police about working in East Timor; and
  • Funding an art project for students in remote Timor.

Reflecting on the Project, Jessica said “this has been truly invaluable. The relationships I’ve established in communities that accepted and welcomed us wholeheartedly have been life-changing and enabled me to believe in myself and my dreams. I have learned that community is the most attainable and important aspect of life. Whilst national development is at times an overwhelming concept, the starting block will always be building relationships.”

Jordan said the Project “allowed me to see development on a national scale. It changed me as a person…it provided a body of knowledge and experiences that I can draw on for the rest of my life, and connected me with a network of like-minded people who have become life-long friends.”

The delegation formed the third consecutive Pacific Project to Timor Leste, continuing the relationship United Nations Youth Australia and Destination Dreaming have built with the Encouragement House and Timorese community. Click here to see some photos from the Pacific Project.

We also met some fantastic community organisations that would love to form a partnership with an Australian community, so please send us an email or call (03) 5255 5830 to hear about opportunities for your school or organisation.

Term 1: Kicking Off at Home and in Nasivikoso’s New Primary School

It’s wonderful to be starting another school year. We hope you are excited as both Destination Dreaming and the village of Nasivikoso are to be kicking off 2012.

Today is a special day for the village of Nasivikoso, Destination Dreaming and the many program participants and supporters who have contributed to the construction of the village’s first primary school. Today class begins for students in grades 1 to 3. Instead of walking over 2 hours to the closest primary school and saying goodbye to their family for the entire week, the young students will walk a couple of hundred metres to their brand new village school.

Heading back to Nasivikoso in April is just one of the programs we’re looking forward to in early 2012. Also in April will see a 6-day program in Maasailand, Kenya and a visit to the Sunshine Coast as part of the AHISA Conference.

Have a wonderful week- look forward to hearing from many of you keen to get involved in a program this year.

Destination Dreaming Joins with CreatiVITI Fiji and WWF Partner Scuba Bula

Are you looking for an amazing new learning opportunity in 2012? We are excited to be partnering with two fantastic Fijian organisations in the coming year. Schools and community groups will now have the opportunity to support traditional art and craft education, or combine reef conservation with a diving experience.

In 2012, we are looking forward to linking local schools with rural Fijian schools, to deliver a series of art workshops. As art is not currently part of the Fijian curriculum, this is an extremely valuable project that will see Australian students engaging with their Fijian peers, to create art pieces reflecting their respective cultures and stories. We will be facilitating this program beside CreatiVITI Fiji, a Fijian, not-for-profit arts and craft organisation that promotes traditional Fijian art. Read more

Laying the Foundation for Nasivikoso Primary School, Fiji

This Monday the 11th of November was a very special day for Destination Dreaming and Nasivikoso, the Fijian village we have been working with since 2004. We were honoured to be a part of the foundation laying ceremony for the Nasivikoso Primary School. We joined with the village to bless the school site and pour the first load of concrete. An amazing moment, that wouldn’t have been possible without the wonderful support of our past participants and supporters in Australia. Vinaka vaka levu. Read more

Dreaming Project Milestone! Fijian Village School Approved and Teacher Funding Secured

Destination Dreaming received some extremely exciting news in our inbox this week. Nasivikoso Village, home to our longest partnership in Fiji, is now one step closer to their own primary school.

Currently, the village’s children must walk for almost two hours to attend school at a neighbouring village, a journey which becomes dangerous and often impassable in the wet season. We are thrilled to report that after 18 months of negotiation, the Fijian Ministry of Education has this week approved the establishment of a school in Nasivikoso and funding for a teacher. Read more

Dreaming Project Success! Funding Secured for Clean Drinking Water System in Fiji

After 14 months of lobbying for funding and assistance, Destination Dreaming has been advised that the Rotary Pacific Water Foundation has approved our proposal for funding for a water project in Fiji. The grant is to provide access to clean drinking water for the remote village of Nasivikoso in the highlands of Vitu Levu, Fiji. The grant includes all piping, fittings, water tanks, professional tradesperson, as well as construction and maintenance training of the system for local villagers. The grant will also provide material to thoroughly clean and secure the water source (natural spring) for the village and protect against waterborne diseases. The work is expected to be finished on the 24th of June 2011 and will be officially commissioned the following week. Read more

Dreaming Project (Fiji) Progress Report and Vinaka Vaka Levu for 2010 fundraising achievement of $16,000!

Destination Dreaming Program Coordinator, Clint Miller, has returned from our final visit to Fiji for 2010. He provides a Dreaming Project progress report…

“Another amazing and successful trip to Fiji. It was certainly a different experience travelling solo- my final trip for 2010 was the first time in years that I have travelled to Fiji without an expedition or project team.

The past 8 days provided a fantastic opportunity to develop further project opportunities and consolidate progress to date. Not to mention a quiet surf at Cloudbreak one morning!
Read more

Program Coordinator Clint Miller makes final Dreaming Project trip to Fiji for 2010

Destination Dreaming Program Coordinator, Clint Miller, has headed off to Fiji for our final visit of 2010, to consolidate this year’s Dreaming Project work.

Clint is to meet with the Fiji Government’s Head of Education, and has proposed a meeting with the Attorney General of Fiji regarding government support of health and education projects in rural Fiji.

Clint will also be consulting with potential builders in relation to the planned construction of a primary school in the Nasouri Highlands in 2011.

Earlier this year, Destination Dreaming funded the purchase and delivery of a water filtration system to a village in the Nasouri Highlands. This December visit will also involve a discussion with the village elders to plan the installation of a clean water system in the village in 2011.

With only 8 days in Fiji, Clint is not too optimistic about getting a chance to surf his beloved Wilkes Passage!