Loreto Gari-uai Pre-Primary School and Community Centre
Timor-Leste, located over 400 kilometres north of Australia, is one of the least developed countries in the world, with basic health, literacy and income levels similar to sub-Saharan Africa.
Over the past decade, the newly independent country has travelled down the path of reconciliation as part of the healing process trying to recover from its violent and traumatic history. Most Timorese live in rural areas and many households have insufficient food to feed themselves all year round. According to UNICEF two thirds of the population are under the age of 25, approximately 40% of children are malnourished and more than 58% of the population is illiterate. With so many young children in need of education the school system is simply under-resourced.
The Loreto Sisters along with MWIA are committed to addressing the lack of educational opportunities facing the Timorese people in the remote area of Gari-uai by building the first Loreto Pre-Primary School in Timor-Leste. The interim Pre-Primary school opened on 1 June 2015 in a refurbished community building, and today the school operates from a newly purpose-built building.
Seventy children attend the Pre-Primary school on a regular basis. In 2018, the Community Centre commenced adult classes and regular health clinics were held.
The path to realising this dream began in 2002 following an invitation from the Superior General to all Loreto Provinces asking them to have the courage to move to new places to “take some risks, however small, in moving out from safe and familiar situations” to places that would benefit their work.
Currently Loreto Sisters, Margie Bourke, Selvi Adaikalam, Margaret Mary Flynn and Nguyen Ai Thien are living in Timor-Leste.
From the outset this has been a community–based project, centred on educating the children of Gari-uai. Now the parents and the whole community are benefiting from adult education and employment. There is hope for a brighter future for generations to come.
Join us today in making a sustainable difference by helping children receive an education which will last a lifetime.
Loreto Sisters Natalie Houlihan and Diaan Stuart ibvm were part of the team helping to build the first Loreto Primary School in Timor Leste.
Advancing Agri-business in Baucau
This project will increase long-term employment prospects and income-generation opportunities in the villages of Timor-Leste. The project is located in Suco Ostico and the neighbouring villages of Suco Gari-Uai, in an elevated part of the Baucau region. In partnership with Loreto and Centro de Desenvolvimento Comunitario (CDC), communities will develop agri-business skills and receive small business development training. CDC, an enterprising agricultural school, trains people in land management, crop production techniques and provides income-generation training specifically to women.
Employment opportunities in the area are limited, young people often leave to seek work elsewhere. Leaders are keen to develop sustainable agricultural practices and create employment for the next generation. There will be lasting benefits for the entire community through increased local spending, increased sales for local traders, higher production of local goods and new employment opportunities.
At the end of the project the communities of Suco Ostico and Suco Gari-Uai will have:
- A minimum of 80 people with increased knowledge, skills and confidence in sustainable agricultural methods, tractor use, financial management and marketing.
- Improved quality and quantity of various crops e.g. sweet potato, tomatoes, corn, vegetables, peanuts.
- Women providing leadership in income-generation practices.
- Younger members of the communities with relevant skills for future employment.
- Improved soil quality.
- Increased standard of living in the communities.
- A well-maintained tractor available to local villages for years to come.
Join us today in making a sustainable difference to communities in need.
In Peru, the Loreto Sisters have worked and lived in Jicamarca, Peru for over 15 years. In partnership with the Jesuits and the local community, the Sisters established a primary and secondary school. Tailoring workshops have now also been established, encouraging women to gain employment and start their own business.
The Loreto Mission in Rumbek, South Sudan has assisted the Maker Keui community through the provision of education, health and employment. This project will improve the standards of personal hygiene of 1477 primary and secondary school students and young women studying in Loreto Schools, Rumbek.
MWIA currently supports two Educational Scholarships and the Children’s Rural Library Program in Vietnam. Ensuring students have the resources and support to complete tertiary education is an important step to creating brighter futures. MWIA is proud of its commitment to the Scholarships which helps young female students attend university.