Summary key issues from visit to Suai E Timor 20 Feb – 03 Mar 2007
It was a very productive visit to Suai and enabled good face-to-face meetings with staff and commission of the community centre, youth centre and district administration. I met with community members and monitored projects funded by Friends of Suai/Port Phillip. Whilst the situation in Dili remains stressed the rural people continue their daily life with meagre resources and welcomed the friendship and support from Port Phillip.
- The new building for the community centre is a good swap and an appropriate building. The building has plenty of light, good size rooms and land where additional buildings can be erected if required e.g. traditional building for meetings outdoors. A five year lease through the department of land and property with an option to extend is being developed with the district administrator. The District Administrator agreed the community can continue to use the traditional meeting space at the old site and recommended a new structure at the new site best for the long term.
- The nursery agro-forestry project is a real success with 10,000 seedlings being planted out. The main focus of the project was the 6,000 seedlings at Lela village and a further 4,000 seedlings were distributed in other sub districts. The media team (see project album) at the youth centre are documenting this on video. The agricultural officer would like to replicate the project with the aim of a permanent nursery. A new proposal building sustainability to deepen the impact will be considered for the new growing season.
- Ten orphaned children plus one young man with a disability are recipients of Friends of Suai education scholarships. Approx $5,000 for the duration of their education has been earmarked by FoS.
- 300 locally-made chairs were officially given by Fos/Port Phillip (see slides) to the public secondary school during my visit. The students gave enthusiastic applause at the mention of an ongoing relationship with Elwood College in Port Phillip who are also keen to make the link.