Friends of Aileu news and events


Keep up to date with Friends of Aileu newsletters and annual reports

Read the latest newsletter:


Annual Report 2019:


Upcoming Events and Activities

Future meetings (conducted on-line)


Friends of Aileu Community Committee meeting: Tuesday 10 November


Your participation is welcome.

For details please contact Friends of Aileu Project Officer

Ongoing activities

CERES Global 2020 trip to Aileu and Atauro, Timor-Leste 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the CERES Global Timor 2020 trip will not now proceed.

Friends of Aileu and CERES will continue support for our Timor-Leste partners' work in sustainable food systems and school and community gardens, including as outlined below.

PERMATIL: Water resource management training 

One of our partners is PERMATIL (Permakultura Timor-Leste), a respected environmental NGO.

PERMATIL's experience over the last 20 years with its young people creating water retention pondmany environmental and agriculture oriented projects, including the national school garden program, has reinforced the importance for rural communities of access to reliable, clean water for household and agricultural uses.

Mainstream international NGOs have often concentrated on building simple gravity-fed water systems in rural communities. Many of these systems (header tanks, pipes and service tanks) have a short life, with maintenance not being prioritised, partly because of under-performance. 

Past deforestation, ongoing clearing for increasingly widespread small-scale agriculture, combined with climate change, has seen much reduced flows in many of the the springs and small streams that feed these basic water systems.

PERMATIL is taking an alternative approach, working directly with local village councils and nominated youth leaders to share local wisdom and improved water conservation principles and practices at hands-on training camps. So far, communities that have participated in the training have constructed over 70 effective earthen water-retention and groundwater recharge ponds and minor stream modifications to slow run-off. 

Friends of Aileu is currently raising funds to support the participation of approximately 50 young people from 5 or more of Aileu's 33 villages in the next water resource management camp in early October. 

You can support this work by making a donation here

Aileu Resource and Training Centre: Kadalak Dame garden and Manu Casa reforestation projects

Activities of the Aileu Resource and Training Centre supported by Friends of aileu, this year with funds donated by Merri Health, include the Kadalak Dame and Manu Casa projects.

At the Kadalak Dame demonstration garden on the outskirts of Aileu farmers constructing garden bed in reforestation sitetown, staff and local community members are able to experiment with growing divers crops and with using alternative and more sustainable  methods.

In the Manu Casa reforestation and water source protection project in the dryer uplands of Lequidoe, the local community has now 

farmers tending infill plants in reforestation areadeveloped their own nursery to raise seedlings to introduce a wider variety of food and income producing species alongside the well-established reforestation and erosion control plantings.

In both cases the sustainability of the projects is being enhanced with the upgrading and expansion of coffee plantations on adjacent land.

Uma Ita Nian Parish Clinic: Income generation and women's development 

The Merri Health donation is also being used to suport income generationwomen in sewing room and women's development projects, facilitated by the community of the Maryknoll Sisters and the Uma Ita Nian Parish Clinic.  Included in the project is the construction of a sales kiosk, improving skills and productivity in knitting and sewing and the development of a wider range of products for local sales. 

20th Anniversary of the Friendship Relationship

May 2020 marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Friends of Aileu and the commencement of the friendship relationship between Moreland and Hume City Councils and their communities and the Municipality and people of Aileu.

Public events previously planned for this occasion have been cancelled as part of the response to the Coronavirus emergency.

Looking back 20 years

This is the first in a series of postings looking back to some of the significant events of the friendship relationship between Moreland, Hume and Aileu, and to some of the many people who have contributed to its success.

If you have any photographs of recollections you would like to share please contact Friends of Aileu Project Officer.

For more postings see Friends of Aileu Facebook Page

The late Cr Andy Ingham, an early and continuing inspiration for the friendship relationship.

Cr Andy Ingham served as Mayor of the former Brunswick City Council prior to it being disbanded by the Kennet Government, and subsequently as a Councillor (1999-2001) in the second Council of the newly formed Moreland City Council.

Cr Andy Ingham in Aileu April 2000

Andy had a passion for Timor-Leste and a desire to support the people of this new nation in establishing peace, independence and happiness.  He was the inaugural Chair of the Friends of Aileu Community Committee. Council and as a Councillor with Moreland City Council.  His involvement in local government spanned over twenty years until his death in July 2001.

In April 2000, Andy visited the Aileu District.  This trip instilled in him a desire to improve training and education facilities and to provide opportunities for capacity-building for the people of Timor-Leste.

In recognition of Andy's tireless work and to honour his memory, the Friends of Aileu Community Committee developed a project that would produce tangible and sustainable outcomes for the people of East Timor, the Cr Andy Ingham - Aileu University Scholarship Program. This program has to date supported 110 young people from Aileu in undertaking tertiary studies in Timor-Leste and Indonesia.

Establishment of the friendship relationship in 2000

Cr Kariofyllidis Cr Gary Jungwirth Xanana Gusmao sign MOU May 2000The friendship relationship with Aileu was formally established on 4th May 2000 when Xanana Gusmao, President of the Timorese National Council for Resistance (CNRT), signed an MOU with Moreland Mayor Cr Stella Kariofyllidis and Hume Mayor Cr Gary Jungwirth.

The signing took place at Coburg Town Hall when Xanana Gusmao delivered the 13th Maurice Blackburn Oration on The Importance of Community Alliances in the Rebuilding of East Timor.

On the same day Xanana, the Victorian Minister for Local Government and the Presidents of the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association signed the Statement of Principles for Victorian Local Governments Working in East Timor.

Recent events and activities

CERES Gathering for Aileu

On Sunday 16 February, Grassroots Gathering, CERES and Friends of Mystic Trio band playing at CERESAileu hosted the fourth annual fundraising event for youth led-initiatives in Aileu, Timor-Leste.

Bigger and better than ever, with music, stalls, activities, the generous support for this event allows Friends of Aileu and partners to continue supporting a range of youth-led development activities in Aileu, with a focus on sustainability, art and sports activities.

Funds raised at the previous Grassroots Gatherings event in 2019 were Arte Mambai Rai husar exhibition at Aileu Expoused to support:

  • Friendship games including basketball, organised by the Aileu Municipal Youth Centre in June-July
  • An exhibition of art and craft, featuring recycled waste materials, which the Arte Mambai Rai Husar group exhibited at the annual Aileu Expo in November.

Friends of Aileu Annual Trivia Quiz fundraiser

The 2019 Trivia Night at Coburg Town Hall in August, with MCs Damian Cowell and Tony Martin, attracted over 150 guests and raised $10,000 for the Aileu University Scholarship Program.

CERES Global 2019 Timor-Leste trip: sustainable agriculture and permaculture

Over two weeks in July, ten people from around Australia joined CERES Global to CERES Global participants in Aileucontinue our engagement with organisations and communities in Dili, Atauro and Aileu, including PERMATIL, Na Terra and Aileu Training and Resource Centre (ARTC).In Aileu the group continued the collaboration with the ARTC on developing the Kadalak Dame peace garden, and visited several organic farms, a nursery and school gardens in Aileu town and in the villages of Suku Liurai and Seloi Craik - check out some highlights here (PDF 9Mb)

Council Delegation to Aileu, July 2019

Moreland City Council Deputy Cr Mayor Mark Riley and Hume City Council representatives Cr Karen Sherry and Cr Joseph Haweil, formed a delegation with the Project Officer visiting Dili and Aileu over one week in July.

The delegation members met with the Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, the Delegation memebrs with Aileu AdministratorTimor-Leste Vice-minister for State Administration, the Aileu Municipal Administrator and other government officials.

They also met with members of community organisations in Aileu, including the Aileu Resource and Training Centre, Uma ita Nian Parish Clinic and the Disability Workshop, Aileu Anan Association, Aileu Rotaract, Aileu University Students Association, Aileu Municipal Youth Centre and Projetu Montanha.

The visit allowed the councillors to see local conditions first-hand, and better understand the challenges facing our friendship partners and the progress they are making in re-building their community, infrastructure and economy and in developing more robust and responsive national and local government structures, programs and services.

Check out some highlights here (PDF 15Mb)

For a more details:

 Aileu Municipal Secretary's Study Tour Visit, June 2019

Mrs Victoria Mesquita do Rego, Aileu Municipal Secretary, undertook a two-week friendship and study tour with Friends of Aileu and Hume and Moreland City Councils.

Mrs Victoria met with the Mayors, Councillors, Directors, Managers and staff at Hume Mrs Victoria with hosts Glenyys and Grahamand Moreland and with Friends of Aileu partner organisations including CERES, Merri Health, North Richmond community Health, Wild Timor Coffee and the Rotary Club of Greenvale.

Mrs Victoria also met with Hume and Moreland waste management staff and inspected several council and community facilities and sites, including Sunbury Landfill and Killara Primary School.

Check out some highlights here. (PDF 4Mb)

East Timor's Historic Choice 1999: Friends of Aileu dinner and forum 10 May 2019

East Timor’s Historic Choice 1999: Hope and Perseverance, Solidarity and Friendship

 Guests at tables with speaker Pat Walsh

Over 80 guests gathered at the Hume Global Learning Centre, Broadmeadows, to celebrate the East Timorese people’s choice for independence in 1999 and the subsequent 19 years of friendship between the Hume and Moreland City Councils and their communities and the Municipal Administration and people of Aileu, Timor-Leste.

Guests speakers were:

  • Pat Walsh, Human Rights advocate, author: The day hope and history aligned

  • Glenyys Romanes, local activist, former councillor: Why we should never give up

Others, including the moderator Carlo Carli, fellow Friends of Aileu member Joe Moreland nad Hume City councillors and guest speakersCaputo, also made special contributions to the discussions on the night. 

Timor-Leste Australia Awards university students Elsa Pinto and Isidoro Correia, and Moreland resident Robin dos Santos, also shared their experiences of 1999 as children and teenagers.

Both councils' Deputy Mayors and Friends of Aileu Community committee representatives also participated in the event. 

Sabores de Timor provided another wonderful meal for the night.

Third Annual Grassroots Gathering for Aileu

On March 31, Grassroots Gathering again brought some great music to CERES,  raising funds for school and community gardens in Aileu.

Mystic Trio playing at CERES

Thanks to the organisers and performers including:

....and all who came along or otherwise supported the event

Heart Beats for Timor fundraiser with Wild Timor Coffee

Mystic Trio playingPeter Sonic and Mystic Trio provided the entertainment for an informal get together at The Yorkshire Stingo Hotel on 16 November.

Wild Timor Coffee partnered with Friends of Aileu to organise this event, raising funds for the Aileu Resource and Training Centre to continue support for community-led work in reforestation, water source protection in Manu Casa village, Lequidoe, Aileu.

Merri Health and Campaspe East Timor Association in Friendship have also contributed to this project.

Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre welcome dinner

Guests at tables

Friends of Aileu and Hume City Council again hosted the METAC community welcome dinner for November at Broadmeadows community Hub

Attendees heard from Nelinha Pereira about Many Hands International and the Lospalos Cultural Centre.

Cameron Wheelehan and Emily Rostron who shared the story of Wild Timor Coffee.

Projeto Montanha at the Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre (METAC) October welcome dinner

Eduardo and Gisele Trucco of Projeto Montanha, a youth training NGO in Aileu, spoke to the gathering at the October METAC diner, outlining their organisation's activities and the achievements of the young people they work with.

Trivia Quiz for Aileu University Scholarship Program

Barry Morgan performingMr Barry Morgan  entertained over 125 guests at the annual Trivia Quiz fundraiser for the Aileu University Scholarship Program on Friday 31 August at Coburg Town Hall.

Those present, with the help of generous donations of prizes from local  community organisations and businesses in Moreland and Hume, raised over $8,500 to support young people from Aileu in their tertiary studies.

Friends of Aileu 2018 Annual Dinner and Forum - celebrating 18 years of friendship

Over 90 members of the Moreland and Hume communities and their friends gathered at Brunswick Town Hall on 11 May for a delicious East Timorse dinner from Sabores de Timor, and to hear guest speakers:Friends of Aileu Annual Dinner 2018 guests

  • Jose Pires: 'Learning My Culture: A Personal Perspective'
  • Antoninho Francisco (Chico) dos Santos: 'Aileu's Unsung Heroes of Independence'

The event raised $3,000 which will be used to support community development initiatives of the Aileu Resource and Training Centre, in particular the annual Aileu Expo which showcases traditional arts, crafts and culture and local products and products.

Grassroots Gatherings / CERES fundraising event for Aileu school garden project

Ego Lemos and Mystic Trio

A good time was had by all who came along to this event on Sunday 18 March at CERES Pavilion.  

Guest speakers and performers included:

  • Ego Lemos, renowned Timor-Leste musician, educator and permaculturist
  • Mystic Trio (Gil, Paulo and Zeka)
  • Chico dos Santos
  • Brainforest
  • Grove St Music
  • Moses Carr FT Gabriel / Saul

Over $2,000 was raised that will go to Aileu, Timor-Leste, to support:

  • PERMTIL (Permaculture Timor-Leste) develop educational school gardens with rural schools and their communities and the Ministry of Education.
  • The Aileu Parish Youth Group provide community art activities for younger people.

See CERES Global Grassroots Gatherings event for more details and photos.

A huge Thank You to all the perfromers, and to Aoife Carli-Hannan and friends who put in a great effort to put on this marvellous event

Palmira Pires of the East Timor Development Agency addresses the Friends of Aileu

The final 2017 meeting of the Friends of Aileu Community Committee on friends of aileu28 November welcomed Palmira Pires, CEO of ETDA (East Timor Development Agency), and guests Jose Pires, Domingos da Costa and Salustino Freitas from Melbourne's East Timorese community.

Palmira spoke on the origins, development and current role as Timor-Leste’s pre-eminent independent training organisation. She also talked about the many East Timorese, both those in Australia in 1999 and those in Timor-Leste, who contributed to the task of reconstruction, working of the civil society, CNRT, the UN mission and eventually the new government of Timor-Leste a truly inspiring story.

Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre (METAC), November Welcome Dinner 2017

Members of Melbourne's East Timorese Community and the East Timorese Students Association (ETSA), Friends of Aileu and other friends of Timor-Leste came together on 3 November at the Hume Global Learning Centre for the METAC Dinner hosted by Friends of Aileu.

Cr Karen Sherry (Hume City Council) welcomed everyone and METAC's Jose Pires introduced the guest speakers:

    • Ana Noronha, Office Manager, East Timorese Students playing music Timor-Leste Honorary Consulate in Melbourne, on the 2017 elections and the maritime boundary negotiations
    • Gizela da Carvalho, Director FKSH, member Rede Feto and Vice-president of ETSA, on gender equality and participation and activities for Timor-Leste's National Women's Day (3 Nov) and National Youth Day (12 Nov)
    • Robin dos Santos, Cailor Media, on video storytelling
    • Chico dos Santos, on early childhood education and music.

Grassroots Gathering for Youth Art Development in Aileu

On 22 September supporters of Friends of Aileu came together for a fun night of melodic tunes at The Howler, Brunswick.

The evening raised over $1,000 that will go towards training volunteer instructors in art and drawing and improving the modest Aileu Parish Youth Group building where amongst other activities the young leaders of the community provide other young people with cost-free opportunities to develop their abilities in art.

Trivia Night 2017 - Fundraiser for the Aileu University Scholarship Program

Over 180 people came together on Friday 18 August for an enjoyable evening of Trivia and other fun, games and music. MCs Yung Philly and Neda Rahmani kept everything and everyone moving throughout the night, helped along by members of the O'Ziriguidum Samba School band.Guests at winnig table celebrate Trivia success

Thanks to all who participated and the many individuals, community organisations and local businesses who donated prizes for the Trivia Competition, Raffle and Games, and items for the Live and Silent Auctions, the event again met its target of raising $10,000 to help fund tertiary education scholarships for young people from Aileu.

Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network forum on education

Members of Friends of Aileu were amongst over 30 participants in the AusTimorFN Forum on Education in Timor-Leste held on 10 June.

Guest speakers were:ATLFN Forum June 2017

  • Kirsty Sword Gusmão, Timor-Leste Goodwill Ambassador for Education
  • Aze Alves, Masters student in Community Development, Victoria University

Representatives of Friends of Aileu, Friends of Manatuto and Friends of Baguia also made presentations about their group's activities.

For more information and photos see: ATLFN Facebook Page

Friends of Aileu Annual Dinner and Forum 2017

audience listening to presentation by Brian HiltonOn Tuesday 2 May, Hume City Council hosted the Friends of Aileu Anniversary Dinner and Forum at the Hume Global Learning Centre, Broadmeadows.

The event brought together over 80 participants, including councillors and staff from Hume and Moreland City Councils, members and supporters of the Friends of Aileu and its partner organisations, other friends of Timor-Leste, students from Timor-Leste attending university in Melbourne and members of the local East Timorese community. They gathered to celebrate the value of the continuing friendship relationship between the Hume and Moreland City Councils and their communities and the Municipality and people of Aileu, Timor-Leste.

Dr Brian Hilton, World Vision Australia, and Andrew Mahar AM, xpand Foundation, provided informative insights into the work they and their Timor-Leste partners are doing to improve health and develop sustainable livelihoods amongst poor subsistence farming communities in Aileu and Baguia, Timor-Leste.

audience listening to presentation by Andrew Mahar

Both Brian and Andrew engaged the audience in a lively discussion of two different approaches to involving reforestation as part of integrated locally controlled community development, and the opportunities for Australian citizens to learn from people in Timor-Leste, and while supporting such initiatives, which have a wide range of benefits, both local and global.

The presentations and discussions will help the Friends of Aileu to better relate with and support the work of the Aileu Resource and Training Centre with rural communities in Aileu on smaller scale local initiatives in reforestation, improvements to nutrition and development of more sustainable livelihoods.  The event raised $2000 to help support this work

Supporters of Friends of Aileu and CERES Global raise funds for 
educational school gardens in Aileu

A relaxed and enjoyable afternoon and evening of music at CERES on Sunday
26 February raised $1,800 that will go towards supporting the development of a demonstration school garden in Aileu.

PERMATIL (the Timor-Leste NGO promoting local applications of permaculture CERES music fundraiserprinciples) is working with the Timor-Leste Ministry of Education to develop gardens in each of the nations Primary Schools.

These gardens can be used for practical hands on learning, in a range of disciplines, as well as for the elements of the Arts and Culture curriculum based on permaculture practice.

CERES Global and Friends of Aileu are working together to support PERMATIL to make the next school garden in Aileu a reality.

For more information contact CERES Global

Friends of Laulara help develop community health facilities for mothers, babies and families

On Sunday 15 January, over 40 Guests watching music performanceFriends of Laulara and supporters got together over pizzas, wine, music and conversation at Jjara's Farmgate Cafe, Inverloch, raising over $1,800.

The funds will be used to help complete  access and amenity works at the Laulara Birthing Centre involving construction of steps and paving and a landscaped waiting area. The funds supplement donations already received from Merri Health, Wild Timor Coffee and individual donors.

A fond farewell to Sister Susan Gubbins

Susan Gubbins, who together with Dorothy McGowan, established the Uma Ita Nian Parish Clinic in Aileu in the early 1990s, has completed her mission in Timor-Leste and on 19 December returned to her home community of the Maryknoll Sisters in the United States.

Friends of Aileu has had a long and Susan and UIN staffrewarding relationship with Susan, Dorothy and their Maryknoll and Uma Ita Nian Clinic colleagues. We and many people in Aileu will greatly miss Susan and also Dorothy, who returned to the US in 2015.

The fantastic service provided to Aileu by the Uma Ita Nian Clinic will continue under the capable leadership of Doroteia Nascimento and Felicidade Martins.

Maryknoll Sisters Rosalva Sandi, Julia Shideler and Juana Encalada remain in Aileu, with Rosalva continuing to guide the Aileu Resource and Training Centre and Julia and Juana on on respective missions in the community.

Vale Mario Antonio Soares

Mario Soares, a patriot of Timor-Leste, a devoted servant of the people of Aileu, an inspiring leader for our friendship relationship, and a personal friend to many, passed away on Friday 18 November.

Mario Soares served his community in so many ways, including in recent years as Social and Economic Officer and then as District Development Officer in the Aileu District Administration, and most recently as Chief of Planning, Municipality of Aileu.

He also fulfilled the indispensable role of point of contact for Friends of Aileu for over 15 years, including as Secretary of the Aileu Friendship Relationship Commission for over 10 years, with distinction, dedication and devotion. The photograph shows Mario with Municipal Secretary Mrs Victoria do Rego, Chief of Municipal Implementation Mr Moises de Fatima, Gary Jungwirth and Municipal Administrator Mr Joao Tilman do Rego, Aileu, August 2016.

Mario made many good friends amongst visitors to Aileu, and during his several trips to Melbourne. A true friend who will be sorely missed.

Studying economics at the Crystal University campus in Aileu as a mature age student, Mario graduated first with a Diploma and then a Bachelor's Degree in Education.

The photograph shows Mario Soares and family members at his graduation ceremony in Dili, December 2011. This was just over a year following the first of two severe strokes that Mario survived.  He didn't let these setbacks become huge obstacles.  As soon as he could Mario got back to work, hopping on a motorbike as required, often travelling long distances over winding mountainous roads of varyingly poor quality.

Friends of Aileu, and other Australian friends of Mario, express their sincere condolences to his family, colleagues and the community of Aileu

A collection is being taken up to assist Mario's family with funeral costs and other short-term support during this difficult time for them. For more information please contact Friends of Aileu Project Officer, Chris Adams.

Elizabeth Waters Memorial Travel Scholarship supporting the Aileu Oral Health Education Program

Aileu's Ana Tilman, amongst the first cohort of dental nurse graduates from the National University of Timor-Leste, is one of two inaugural recipients of the Elizabeth Waters Memorial Travel Scholarship administered by the Jack Brockhoff Foundation.

Anna Tilman

Ana Tilman, who is working as part-time Program Officer for the Oral Health Education Program of North Richmond Community Health and Friends of Aileu, is using the scholarship to undertake professional development in Melbourne over four weeks during November-December. This includes spending time with the Melbourne School of Population and Global Heath at Melbourne University.

Ana formally accepted the scholarship award on Friday 18 November at a dental and oral health seminar at North Richmond Community Health.  The previous Friday Ana met with members of Melbourne's East Timorese community and Friends of Aileu at the a community dinner in Dallas.  See item below in Recent Events: Friends of Aileu - METAC welcome dinner

Wild Timor Coffee and Friends of Aileu

Friends of Aileu Wild Timor Coffee is now available at Moreland City Council Customer Service Centres Wild Timor Coffee

Get this high quality, great tasting coffee for only $13 per 200 gram pack (organic, freshly roasted, whole beans or ground).

Wild Timor Coffee sources its product by direct trade on a fair trade basis with local farming communities in Aileu.

All profits from your purchase of Friends of Aileu Wild Timor Coffee go towards supporting community development initiatives of our Aileu-based partner organisations.

You can also purchase Wild Timor Coffee on-line and support Friends of Aileu's Laulara Birthing Centre Project.

Wild Timor Coffee supports a range of community development projects in their partner communities in Aileu and elsewhere in Timor-Leste

Their online sales currently give the option of purchasing Coffee Laulara and supporting Friends of Aileu's Laulara Birthing Centre Project

Recent events

Coburg Night Market and Carols by the Lake

During December Friends of Aileu had a successful presence at the Coburg Night Markets and Carols By The Lake. 

Thanks to all the many volunteers who helped out, and also to all who stopped by for a chat or supported Friends of Aileu by buying fundraising coffee and other Timor-Leste handicrafts.

Friends of Aileu - METAC welcome dinner

The once a year occasion when the METAC, Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre monthly welcome dinner is held with Friends of Aileu in the Hume City Council area, this year on Friday 11 November at the Mary McKillop Hall, Holy Child Primary School, Dallas.

Members of the East Timorese community and friends shared conversation over a traditional Timorese meal catered for by Sabina and Aderito.

 Guests speakers included:

  • Ana Tilman and Martin Hall of North Richmond Community Health (NRCH).  Ana, who is amongst the first batch of dental nurse graduates from UNTL and is in Melbourne with NRCH for a month for professional development, spoke about her work with the NRCH-Friends of Aileu Oral Health Education Program
  • Marqy daCosta of Afalyca Arts Centre Baucau and Jenni Granger of Box Hill Community Arts Centre (BHCAC). Marqy who is in Melbourne for a few weeks for the Mau Fali Eh exhibition at BHCAC spoke about the young woemn's art in the exhibition and his experience fostering art amongst young people as a personal development and healing influence for them and their communities

Friends of Aileufriends-of-aileu

  • Andrew Miller of Ballarat Friends of Ainaro.  Andrew spoke about the development of Arte Ramelau in Ainaro and the exhibitions in Ballarat including the most recent one, the Portrait Sideshow including art from beginner and more experienced young people from Timor-Leste and Ainaro
  • Antoninho Chico dos Santos, Melbourne resident, who spoke about his life and how he has taken up opportunities in art and music reflecting aspects of his Timor-Leste heritage and families' traditions

friends-of-aileuFriends of Aileu

2016 Trivia Night Extravaganza

The annual Trivia Night at Coburg Town Hall on Friday 7 October was a real treat with Phillip "Yung Philly" Pandongan as the MC and Trivia Master. 

Yung Philly entertained the happy crowd including with some deadly moves and by leading a dance off friendly where all participants were winners.

2016 Trivia Night winners

Amongst the many other winners were the Hume City Council environment team who won the Trivia Contest and walked away with over $500 worth of vouchers from local restaurants, cafes and grocers.

The event raised $10,000 for the Cr Andy Ingham Memorial Scholarship Program assisting young people from Aileu access tertiary studies. 

The scholarship program is amongst those Friends of Aileu activities most highly-valued by the community of Aileu.

Thanks to all who helped make the night a success, including the many local businesses, community organisations and individuals who donated prizes and auction items.

Watch out for this and other great events in 2017

Friends of Aileu Community Committee September meeting

The meeting heard some very interesting presentations from:

  • Committee member Richard Brown, on the Friends of Aileu delegation to Aileu in August, and their participation in the Timor-Leste Government's 5th Conference on Decentralisation and Local Government
  • Rae Kingsbury, Timor-Leste Honorary Consul in Melbourne, reflecting on the Decentralisation and Local Government Conference in Dili during August, and the bright future of community and local government Friendship Relationships with Timor-Leste;
  • Ben Walta, CERES Global, on collaboration between the Permaculture Design Certificate student group and the Aileu Resource and Training Centre in June;
  • Chris Felstead and Rosemary Stockdale, Swinburne University, on the collaboration between the IT for Social Impact Unit student group and the Aileu Resource and Training Centre in June-July;
  • Martin Hall, North Richmond Community Health, on Aileu Oral Health Program, including the August-September visit which moved the program from an initial pilot in 2 schools to a program with a more formal evaluation process involving a further 6 schools.

The meeting built on the recently signed Friendship Agreement 2016 and the renewed Strategy Plan and Action Plan 2016-20, by beginning the process of reviewing Friends of Aileu's meeting and communication arrangements, supporter and partner engagement processes and project priorities and management approaches.

All Friends of Aileu community members, partner organisations, supporters and other interested people are welcome to the next meeting Community Committee Tuesday 2 December.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, please email Moreland Council, attention Friends of Aileu Project Officer.

Fabulous Friday in July: Friends of Aileu's 2016 Music and Comedy Night fundraiser

A great success again, raising over $2,000 for our partners in Aileu

All funds will go to support Aileu-based community organisations working with young Friends of Aileu event imagepeople, women and farmers' groups to protect their environment, maintain a rich culture, extend educational opportunities and work towards more sustainable agriculture and greater economic participation.

On the last Friday in July, a warm and enthusiastic audience were treated to the comedic genius of Damien Lawlor, Geraldine Hickey and Josh Earl and the irresistible music of Michael Meeking and The Ladies in Waiting and SFZ (Sforzando).

Man on stage with microphoneFriends of Aileu event image

Band performing on stagePeople singing on stage

We missed Anne of the Wolves, who were unfortunately a late and unavoidable withdrawal - maybe next time.

Watch out for next year's event - bigger and better.

Friends of Aileu Annual Fundraising Dinner, May 2016

Forum topic: Australia / Timor-Leste Community Partnerships: Enduring Friendships-Shared Futures

Over 60 people enjoyed a delicious Timorese meal, catered by Sabores de Timor, at Brunswick Town Hall on 6 May. The dinner celebrated 16 years of friendship with Aileu and the forum provided an opportunity to look forward to the next 15 years.

May 2016 is also the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of the Aileu Resource and Training Centre (ARTC), which has developed into a highly respected and effective organisation.

The dinner raised a total of $2,600 which will go towards supporting community development initiatives of the ARTC and other partners of Friends of Aileu

Mr Abel Guterres, Timor-Leste Ambassador to Australia, commended Friends of Aileu dinnerthe friendship relationships between Australian and Timor-Leste communities as a model for engagement in an increasingly connected world, one with many shared challenges and opportunities. The Ambassador spoke of his vision for Timor-Leste communities to one day connect in a similar manner with their neighbours in the islands of Nusa Tenggara Timur, the nearby eastern Indonesian province that has many disadvantaged and under-developed areas.

The Panel / Q&A, with the Ambassador and Mark Grant (Local Government Victoria), Dr Ann Wigglesworth (Victoria University, Monash University, Friends of Suai Cova Lima), Ben Walta (CERES Global) and Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich (PrimeSCI!, Monash University Science Centre), provided insights into many aspects of the friendship relationships and provided food for thought for the future.

Moreland artists with the golden touch support Friends of Aileu

Ria Green and Alica Bryson Haynes, from The Golden Opportunity Shop, dedicated funds collected during their MoreArt 2015 residency at Moreland Station to Friends of Aileu.

Ria and Alica handed over a donation of $188 to support youth, education and community health initiatives in Aileu.

'We found out about Friends of Aileu through MoreArt 2015. We are passionate about projects that invest in health and education. Each person purchasing a golden object was pleased to suport Friends of Aileu, making their purchase even more golden', said Alica.

Hateke Ba Kotuk photographs at the Hume Global Learning Centre, Broadmeadows

The exhibition ran from 24 November to Thursday 17 December and was launched on Saturday 5 December.

Community members at Hateke ba KotukThe exhibition, "Hateke Ba Kotuk: Looking back through the eyes of the East Timorese community. Commemorating our 40 years journey in Melbourne, Victoria. 1975-2015", was assembled by the Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre (METAC), uisng photographs provided by members of the East Timorese community in Melbourne.Tebe Cultural Group

Mrs Rae Kingsbury, Honorary Consul for Timor-Leste in Victoria, attended the launch along with members of the East Timorese community from across Melbourne and their friends. Guests were treated to a dance performance by the Tebe Cultural Group of the Timorese Association in Victoria (TAV), and later celebrated by dancing together.

First Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network forum

At the request of friendship groups, the Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network convened ts first forum for Victorian friendship groups on Saturday 24 October 2015, 10 am - 4 pm, at the VLGA meeting room, L60 Building, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton.

Speakers included:

  • Mark Grant, Local Government Victoria, with an update on Decentralisation and the Municipal Agreements.
  • Jenny Coles, for Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Timor-Leste Goodwill Ambassador for Education, on pre-school education
  • Janelle Saffin, Activist, Advocate, Educator on Timor Sea Boundary
  • Dan Nicholson, Timor Sea Justice Campaign Lawyer

Friendship Groups members shared information about their projects and activities, and contributed ideas for future Forums.

For more information see Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network website. and Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network Facebook.

Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network forum

Friends of Aileu - Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre (METAC) annual joint Welcome Dinner in October previewed Hateke Ba Kotuk exhibition

The Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre and Friends of Aileu once again teamed up to bring the METAC Welcome Dinner for the month of October to the Holy Family Centre, Meadow Heights, on Friday 2 October.

A special attraction was a preview showing of photographs from the exhibition "Hateke Ba Kotuk: Looking METAC Dinner 2015back through the eyes of the East Timorese community. Commemorating our 40 years journey in Melbourne, Victoria. 1975-2015".

Also present were Paulie Stewart and Greg Cunningham, brothers of Tony and Gary, two of the Balibo Five, the journalists murdered during a pre-invasion incursion of the then Portuguese East Timor by Indonesian military in October 1975.

People at the METAC Dinner in Meadow HeightsGreat food by Sabores de Timor and great music from the East Timorese Students Association band, Paulie Stewart and Fablice, a Burundi-born Melbourne rapper who recently performed in Timor-Leste with Paulie.

The 2016 Meadow Heights dinner is planned for the first Friday in November. For details of the monthly METAC dinners, usually held at The Factory, Belgium Avenue, Richmond, see the METAC Facebook page.

Friends of Aileu Annual Trivia Night

Another successful Trivia Night raises $10,000 to assist young people from Aileu complete university studies.

150 guests enjoyed an evening of trivia, auctions, raffles and other fun and games at Coburg Town Hall on Friday 28 August to raise funds for the Cr Andy Ingham - Aileu University Scholarship Program.

Comedian Nelly Thomas MCd, entertaining the guests and keeping a very full program running smoothly. Vicuna Coat again gave their time to provide the music, including for an impromptu 'air instrument/crazy dancing' contest in which many guests enthusiastically took part.

Thanks to all who contributed, especially the many supporters of Friends of Aileu and Council staff who worked to make the night a success.  Volunteers are too numerous to name everyone, but special mentions to former Friends of Aileu Project Officer Richard Brown for volunteering his time to line up so many of the donations, and to Teresa Garcia for again coming up with a great set of trivia questions.

Thanks also to the many Friends of Aileu supports and local businesses and community organisations who generously donated wonderful items and vouchers for the trivia competition and raffle prizes and the live and silent auctions.

Friends of Aileu 15th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner

Friends of Aileu held its annual anniversary dinner on Wednesday 6 May 2015 at the Hume Global Learning Centre, Broadmeadows.

Special guest speakers on 'Language, Learning and Identity in Timor-Leste' were:

  • Kirsty Sword Gusmao - Goodwill Ambassador for Education, Government of Timor-Leste, and Founder and Chair, Alola Foundation
  • Katrina Langford - a Linguist specialising in Timorese languages and Founder and Secretary of the NGO TimorLink.

The dinner, catered for by Sabores de Timor with drinks service by Peter Shanley, was enjoyed by over 90 people, who helped raise $1,700 for our Aileu-based partner organisations, including the Annual Science and Reading Competition conducted by the Aileu Resource and Training Centre in conjunction with Aileu primary and secondary schools and the District education authorities.

Friends of Aileu Music and Comedy Night

The inaugural Friends of Aileu Music and Comedy Night was& held on Friday 10 April at Brunswick Town Hall.

The night was a great success, raising $3,000 for the activities of our Aileu-based partner organisations, including:

  • the food production program that the Aileu Parish Clinic, Uma Ita Nian (Your House), is implementing with farmers' groups from 18 remote rural villages'
  • the schools' annual Science and Reading Contest coordinated with the Aileu Education Office by the Aileu Resource and Training Centre.

Thanks to the City of Moreland and the City of Hume for sponsoring this event, and to all staff and Friends of Aileu volunteers who helped in organising the event. Special thanks to the performers who donated their time and talents:

  • Bands / Musicians: Vicuna Coat, Accidental Bedfellows, That Gold Street Sound
  • Comedians: Hammertime and Biggish Al (also as MCs), Franky Walnut, Marcus Ryan and Damien Lawlor.

Last but not the least, thanks to all those who attended. Following the success of this event, the Friends of Aileu Community Committee is inspired to organise a similar night’s entertainment next year.