East Timor - 2003/2004
East Timor Roofing - The idea of the Bacau Beams Project came from the Rotary Club of Doncaster and from day one has been very heavily supported by the Rotary Club of Melbourne and embraced by our Rotary District.
A fundraising breakfast at Crown Casino raised more than $50,000 with Brigadier General Cosgrove kick starting the project. A further $500,000 from the Shell Foundation has been made available for training programs and technical assistance.
Falantil runs the roofing project and the sale of the finished product forms an integral part of the rebuilding of many of the public buildings that were destroyed during the uprising.
Micro Credit Scheme - Our first project / loan was on the island of Atarua. A $5,000 loan has been made to seven families (village) to establish a fishing co-operative. This money has enabled the group to secure an outboard motor, nets and ancillary fishing equipment. The business is now up and running, regular payments are being made, and the Club expects the loan will be paid off within the next two years.
This has been a very positive start and with the help of funding from "Cheap as Chips" we are in the process of putting together more business starting and business development loans. The Club has earmarked $10,000 for these programs over the next twelve months.
Hot Flima Fishing - The Club has purchased two new (Vietnam War) cool rooms with generators for the "Hot Flima" project in Dili. This project will mean that fresh produce; fish meat, etc. can be sold in the local market and will have a semi-respectable shelf life. The cool rooms were purchased and shipped to Dili in October 2002.
Rotary Club of Dili - This new Club was chartered on the 20th November 2002 and was made possible by the hard work of many ex-pats with Rotary connections who were working in East Timor, both before and after the uprising.
The Rotary Club of Melbourne will sponsor the first indigenous East Timor member Caetano Gutterres, who heads up the Hot Flima project in Dili. Caetano has been overwhelmed by the gesture and we are sure he will make a most valuable contribution to the development of Rotary in East Timor.
Computers - This program started when Rotarian Philip Endersbee visited Timor last in 2002 and spent a day in the orphanage in Bacau.
David Schultz approached the Club last year - volunteering his services to supply computers to the Bacau Orphanage - and has rounded up computers, stripped and reprogrammed them, and the first seven computers were sent to the orphanage early in November 2002. The Club is working with Tattersalls and hopes to secure 20 more computers in the near future.
The computers are used by the students in the classroom, where they are assisted by the Sisters (IT teachers) to prepare for a working career.
Posyandu - The Club is working with the Sisters of the Good Samaritan to introduce the school education health program (POSYANDU) to the island of Atarua. This program involves the whole community and starts with the children at school.
Rotary has had enormous success throughout the South Pacific with these initiatives and we hope we may be able to develop something similar in East Timor, starting at Atarua.