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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.

Sacred Heart College Students Return from Timor Leste with Eyes Wide Open

The first group of Sacred Heart College (Hobart) students and staff has just returned from Timor Leste on a Destination Dreaming Community Partnership Program.

The aim of the School’s first visit to Timor was to set the foundation for an ongoing, intercultural relationship with a Junior School in the rural township of Maliana- and there were certainly some incredible friendships made. Primary School Principal Sue Walker said “to watch the youth of two completely different cultures come together to share their stories, dreams and lives for even a short time will never be forgotten. We faced challenges and were taken well and truly out of our comfort zone, but the positive and powerful personal growth that has occurred for each and every participant from both Sacred Heart College and Maliana Junior School is distinct.”

After arriving in Timor Leste’s capital of Dili, the group travelled all day through rugged but beautiful countryside to the regional district of Maliana. An essential part of the program included living in the everyday circumstances as that experienced by the local students, including drawing their water from the well each day, playing in the river and picking food from the local vegetable garden.

During this time, the Sacred Heart College students saw the construction of an outdoor study shelter they had funded for the new block at the Encouragement House. They were also excited to deliver computers, printers and education resources, including a fantastic set of microscopes to the local science teachers. Students also worked in teams to assist English tutoring at the Junior High School, learned some of the local language from their Timorese peers and about the Timorese history and culture. But even more so than experiencing the diverse culture and environment, the students learned just how much they have in common with the local teenagers their own age.
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Video Promo in Preparation for Scotch Oakburn’s Second Visit to Timor Leste

Scotch Oakburn College student Brianna Bartley has created a YouTube clip that captures her experiences in Timor Leste in 2011. Brianna was a member of the first group of students and staff from Scotch Oakburn College to visit their new partner school in Timor Leste, on a Community Partnership program run by Destination Dreaming.

Check our her clip that is being used to promote and gather support in Launceston for their partner school in Timor, in preparation for the next Scotch Oakburn service program in September this year.

Scotch Oakburn College

During the September school holidays, nine students and two teachers from Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston ventured into the highlands of Timor-Leste on their inaugural International Community Partnership Program. The group stayed with the Encouragement House in Maliana and delivered an English tutoring program for one of the local high schools. Staying at the Encouragement House, a boarding house for rural students, was a highlight.

Kelsey said ‘my favourite part of the trip was spending time at the Encouragement House… and the river trips in the truck.’ Andrew described his experience as ‘…the most fulfilling and enjoyable ten days of my life…it is very rare that you can reflect on a week of your life knowing you wouldn’t change a moment of it.’

The program was a huge success, and thanks go to the incredible people at the Encouragement House, Robert Dickson, Maliana One High School, Tania Deguara and Andrew French and the nine champion students of Scotch Oakburn College.

Brianna Bartley has created a video of the group’s experience, which is being used to generate awareness and support in the Launceston community about the program in preparation for the College’s next visit in September 2012.

Photos from the program are now available via this link on Facebook.

[box_half]Chris and kids from the Encouragement House playing soccer[/box_half][box_half class=”last”]Scotch Oakburns Tania with Maliana Ones Principal[/box_half]

Tassie Students Learn From Community Life in Timor Leste

During the September school holidays, nine students and two teachers from Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston ventured into the highlands of Timor-Leste on their inaugural Community Partnership Program. The group stayed with the Encouragement House in Maliana and delivered an English tutoring program for one of the local high schools. Staying at the Encouragement House, a boarding house for rural students, was a highlight. Kelsey said ‘my favourite part of the trip was spending time at the Encouragement House… and the river trips in the truck.’ Andrew described his experience as ‘…the most fulfilling and enjoyable ten days of my life…it is very rare that you can reflect on a week of your life knowing you wouldn’t change a moment of it.’

The program was a huge success, and thanks go to the incredible people at the Encouragement House, Robert Dickson, Maliana One High School, Tania Deguara and Andrew French and the nine champion students of Scotch Oakburn College.

UN Youth Australia Delegates Get a Taste for the United Nations in Action

United Nations Youth Australia delegates recently returned from an amazing trip to Timor Leste, brushing shoulders with President Ramos Horta and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, and supporting the Encouragement House in Maliana.

13 travellers had the trip of a lifetime last month, the first of a series of visits planned to the Encouragement House, to provide financial support to the rural boarding house. Destination Dreaming donated a percentage of the group’s program cost to construct an outdoor shelter at the Encouragement House, which was constructed by local builders during the visit. Read more

United Nations Youth Australia 2011

United Nations Youth Australia delegates recently returned from an amazing trip to Timor Leste, brushing shoulders with President Ramos Horta and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, and supporting the Encouragement House in Maliana.

13 travellers had the trip of a lifetime last month, the first of a series of visits planned to the Encouragement House, to provide financial support to the rural boarding house. Destination Dreaming donated a percentage of the group’s program cost to construct an outdoor shelter at the Encouragement House, which was built by local builders during the visit to Maliana.

Highlights for the group included evening soccer matches with the local students, bathing in the river and group singing sessions at the Encouragement House. Asher Kosma (17 years old) said, ‘my trip to Timor Leste was absolutely amazing. We were the first Australian students ever to visit one of the rural school and lived like locals for 6 days… This Destination Dreaming trip changed the way I view the world and I would be genuinely surprised if it didn’t for anyone who undertakes it.’

Grant Duthie (17 years old) commented that ‘our ability to make a difference on this trip made it stand apart from other travel experiences. Making a positive impact and discovering culture that is so fulfilled and content with so little…

Photos from the program are available via this link on Facebook.

Destination Dreaming will run the next Pacific Project for UN Youth Australia delegates in July 2012. Next year’s program will be extended to three weeks. Interested students should contact the Pacific Project Director at UN Youth Australia.

[box_half]Boys fooling about at the river in Timor Leste[/box_half][box_half class=”last”][/box_half]