Five Australian teachers of English language are volunteering to go to Suai, East Timor to provide intensive four week training to English teachers in September 2009. The City of Port Phillip sponsored community group Friends of Suai, have organised an orientation over the next eight weeks to prepare the teachers for working in a developing country with sessions on history, culture lifestyle and language. Friends of Suai received a request from English teachers in Suai for the training and the program has been endorsed by national government to provide an appropriate curriculum suitable for the teachers. The Community Centre in Suai, supported by the City of Port Phillip will host the teachers during their stay. “The City of Port Phillip is committed to a ten year partnership to help rebuild Suai, which suffered some of the worst excesses after the pro-independence vote in 1999,” said Mayor Frank O’Connor. “Life is still difficult in the new nation but together we are making things happen,” he said. Friends of Suai Committee member Desleigh Kent and Jenny Green, a retired teacher will share the role of team leaders on the upcoming trip. They have both visited Suai and are looking forward to this new challenge and adventure. “We have a wonderful group of teachers with a wealth of experience in teaching in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma all with insight and development experience,” said Desleigh. “We are particularly pleased to represent Port Phillip at the 10 year commemoration of the Suai massacre in September this year. It will be a significant time to be in Suai and an important act of friendship,” he said. The teachers will pay their own fares and expenses to go to East Timor and Friends of Suai will provide accommodation transport and teaching resources whilst they are in country. Most people speak at least three languages in East Timor with Tetun being the language generally understood across the country. Both English and Portuguese are compulsory languages in secondary schools and English is the international language that many Timorese are keen to learn.The teachers will start their orientation training on Friday 26 June at the St Kilda Town Hall.
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