Archive for the 'Timor-Leste' Category

Published by dlocke on 07 Jan 2020

Update on our progress December 2019

Furniture being delivered to Boramba kindergarten.

2019 has seen the successful running of our three completed kindergartens. Teachers continue to pool resources and collaborate in order to bring about the best outcomes for our growing student base.

Bobe Kindergarten was running by April 2019 with teachers Lala and Teodora taking on the role. Lala has come with experience from Bei Cala kindergarten and Teodora has completed 2 years of teacher training in Dili. We wish them every success.

More furniture has been delivered to Boramba and the teachers grow in confidence. They are looking for ways to build their teaching and entrepreneurial skills. They are building their sewing abilities and looking at buying a photocopy to offer a service to people in the area.

We are also still hope to build a fourth kindergarten in Suai on land donated by the family of Antonio Gomes. Antonio works for the Australian ADF in Dili as an interpreter and in logistics. We are waiting for government approval at present. We can’t thank Bradley enough. His posting in Timor Leste is coming to an end and we wish him every success in the future.

Looking to the future we are focusining on the Suai kindergarten and setting up an Adult Education Centre in Bei Cala. We hope to offer computer courses, English lessons, sewing classes and further kindergarten training as a start. Macbooks have been donated by Robyn Inskip.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us and continues to help us achieve our educational outcomes in Timor Leste in Grub’s memory. Our yearly fundraiser is not too far in the future and I hope to catch up with your all.

Our fish farm at work.
Our new hire car.

Published by dlocke on 20 Oct 2018

Bobe Kindergarten 2018

Our newest project in the Bei Cala area is another kindergarten at Bobe. The locals broke ground this September and already it is up to roof level. Well done. Bin recently visited and caught up with teachers and students at Bei Cala and Boramba. She donated some extra furniture to Boramba which is being built by locals. Student attendance still varies throughout the week, but a consistent message is helping to encourage parents to send their children to kindergarten. Thanks once again to all those here in Australia and in Timor Leste for helping us achieve our goals.

Furniture being built for Boramba

Work on Bobe kindergarten.

Bei Cala Kindergarten Sept 2018

Boramba kindergarten Sept 2018

Bobe Sept 2018

Laying the foundation at Bobe.

Published by dlocke on 29 Jul 2018

Progress Report 2018

Boramba kindergarten.

Well what a month Belinda and I have had. We spent 10 days visiting Bei Cala village and area, visiting schools and supporting the network of kindergarten teachers we are building.

Kindergartens in Bei Cala and Boramba and progressing well. Student attendance is up, with it being higher at the beginning of the week. Not much different to home. Thursday is market day and many students go with parents and who doesn’t want a long weekend on Friday. Despite this, I am confident that numbers are slowly building, with around 60 preschool age students having consistent attendance across the wider region.

The Grub Club was able to supply 2 computers purchased through computers4learning a project of Rotary Nundah. One for each kindergarten. While they don’t have internet service they can write programs and keep attendance, it also allows the teachers to build computer skills and gives an opportunity for our teachers to get together and collaborate. While there I held some computer lessons with the help of Paolo Alves. Paolo was invaluable as my tetum is a bit scratchy. We were also able to hand over a few extra resources to both kindergartens.

A big thanks to Juela Da Costa Ramos, Zelia Maria Da Costa and Rosalia Da Costa from Boramba Kindergarten and Baselia da Costa and Sandra Maria Paco-Real from Bei Cala Kindergarten. These ladies are all volunteers and deserve my eternal gratitude.

While there, we also had the opportunity to visit Bobe. Bobe is the site of our third kindergarten. Bobe school is slightly isolated but also part of the Hatu Udo administrative area. The weather had been very mild and rainy, which we thought was going to prevent us from making it to the village, but the day before we left, roads had dried out enough to let us through. Thanks to Amalie, a very experienced driver, we visited and handed over the first down payment for the kindergarten. The kindergarten’s budget is USD$12000, which has to cover everything. This school should be finished within 6 to 8 months.

While there was plenty of rest time, with a visit to the beach at Betano, we also got to visit Suai. Suai is located about 2 hours driving south west. It is by the sea and the location of the new airport (I think there is 1 flight a day). There we stayed with Antonio Gomez’s family. Antonio is a serving member of the Australian ADF and works in logistics in Dili. He has been with the ADF for over 12 years. He is also translator and interpreter. We were lucky enough to meet Antonio last October and will now collaborate with his family to bring a kindergarten to Kammenos, Suai. Antonio’s sister (in Suai there is a matriachal relationship for inheritance), Emilia Da Costa and her husband Paolo Da Costa have donated the land. Antonio will head up the project and look after financials, his brother Mersu Gomez will be the on site project manager and another brother Ameu Barras a builder/carpenter will be in charge of the actual build. This is another family affair for which we are very grateful. They will build for a total budget of USD$12000 and are at present drawing up plans to suit their local site and environment. We envisage in 12 months time we will have a fourth kin

Bin playing with students at Boramba.


We were lucky enough to not only travel with Antonio and family but we met Lance Corporal Lisa White who also accommpanied us. Thank you very much, it was an absolute pleasure, thank you to Major Andrew March and Sgt David Marshall for allowing both Antonio and Lisa out of the office. I will be sending thank yous to all.

Finally, on our return we drove on a death defying road from Suai to Balibo. It improved slightly after that. Thanks to Bin (apparently it means big sister in Tetum) for driving, I certainly wouldn’t have, but I got to tick a bucket list item. I visited the site of the Balibo 5. This is a haunting place. The museum while small tells the story of the Australian journalists and more. It is one of those news items I can actually remember from 1975 and the following years. So much more to tell.

Well in a nutshell that was visit 2018. I look forward to my next journey to Timor Leste, probably next year.

  Teacher Juela Da Costa Ramos working with students at Boramba.

Teachers and Paolo at Bobe.

Kindergarten site Bobe.

A class at Bobe.

Published by dlocke on 12 Nov 2017

October in Bei Cala


The finished classroom.

For the second time this year I have been able to visit Timor Leste and finish the work started in April. I had the pleasure of Belinda’s company and assistance once again from DCP-TL servicemen Daniel and Antonio.  We firstly were able to finish the school building maintenance in Boramba. This now means our second kindergarten building is ready to go. At present we are training teachers and once they are up to speed we will have two classes in neighbouring villages.

The work involved cementing the last floor of the school house and the local lads, led by Kamal, replastered walls and painted them fresh. It looks magnificent. We also purchased lino for the floor, which finished it off nicely. A big thank you to DCP-TL Daniel and Antonio for their help this time, it is very appreciated.

We also had the opportunity to visit a third site in the nearby village of Bobe (pronouced Bobby). The villagers will provide a level site and we are looking to supply the funds for resources and man power to build the kindergarten. There may be slight modifications to improve the layout but otherwise we will follow our existing formula which seems to work.  It is hoped by this time next year this kindergarten will be almost complete.

Thirdly, we were very chuffed to be asked to build a fourth kindergarten in Suai. A town a few hours away and home to Antonio. Antonio has worked for the Australian Army for a number of years in logistics and translating and we are certainly pleased to look into this idea. Hopefully on our next visit we will be able to do a reccy to the area.

While staying with our hosts Anisetto and Karbina in Bei Cala I also visited our Bei Cala Kindergarten and worked with Lala at every opportunity. There is certainly a need to train more teachers to help Lala and provide a back up. This time last year we trained 7 teachers. Three have found work elsewhere, two in teaching, one is unable to teach due to ill health which left us with two. Our goal is to now train some more. This is important resource building.

Thank you to all those involved particularly the communities of Bei Cala, Boramba and Bobe and Bellingen. The support of all of you has made this possible and it continues the legacy of Sgt. Matthew Locke MG. We hope he is proud of our efforts.

Published by dlocke on 05 Jun 2017

April in Bei Cala

During the last school holidays (April) I had the pleasure to catch up with the people from village of Bei Cala, Timor Leste. This time Wayne accompanied me and Dean West from Brisbane. We travelled to Dili via Darwin and were met by Jino at the airport.

On our first night we met the boys from the Defence Cooperation Program Timor-Leste (DCP-TL) in Dili.  We met Daniel, Craig, Roy and Brad who would be travelling up Monday and meeting us in Bei Cala to help with the work ahead.

We had set ourselves and ambitious program to fix up our original school building at Boramba. A couple of floors had been laid too thinly and consequently had broken up from wear and tear. We also hoped to weather proof the ends of the building as rain could come in.

After travelling on the Monday, I can report that road improvements are still in progress, we caught up with the boys and Karabina and Aniseto and extended family in Bei Cala.

Over the next three days were were able to re-cement one room completely by barrow and hand, fix two others, seal both ends of the building, fix furniture, hang new solid lockable doors and hang blackboards. It was an incredible pleasure to see the work undertaken by our crew, ably assisted by half dozen local boys. Thanks to all of boys for their assistance, it couldn’t have been done without them.

We also took over resources for our kindergartens and are planning on returning in the October holidays to continue the work.

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