Our projects and achievements

Australian partners

Friends of Aileu works closely with the following Friendship groups active in the Aileu District:

You can find out more about these, and other friendship relationships from the Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network.

Other Australian-based partners of Friends of Aileu include:

Aileu partners

The principal partners in Aileu District is the Municipal Administration and its Aileu Friendship Relationship Commission.

Friends of Aileu has also established ongoing relationships with local community organisations, including:

  • Aileu Resource and Training Centre
  • Uma Ita Nian Parish Clinic, and its programs incluidng the St Francis Assisi Disability Workshop.

In conjunction with the Aileu Friendship Relationship Commission, Friends of Aileu is working to strengthen relationships with Timor-Leste government departments in health and education and with educational institutions, student organisations and service clubs

Community health projects

Friends of Aileu, in association with Merri Health and the Campaspe East Timor Association in Friendship (CETAF), has supported a number of projects in conjunction with the Aileu District Health Service, the Uma Ita Nian Parish Clinic and the St Francis Assisi Disability Workshop.

These include the provision of medical equipment to the Clinic and the District Health Centre, renovation of a building to house mid-wives, provision of a vehicle to transport midwives around the District, and provision of equipment for the disability workshop.

They have also funded a number of projects for improving health through better nutrition run by the Uma Ita Nian Parish Clinic, including egg, chicken and pig production, soy bean and soy milk production and construction of low-smoke fuel-efficient domestic stoves.

Laulara Birthing Centre

In 2012, a new birthing centre was opened in Laulara Sub-District. The building was refurbished and partly equipped with donations from the Friends of Aileu, Friends of Laulara, Merri Health, Campaspe East Timor Association in Friendship, Echuca Hospital and a number of private donors.

The Aileu Municipal Administration has accessed government funding to provide the Birthing Centre with an additional room and an improved water supply system.

The Laulara Birthing Centre building project is nearing completion with further donations from Friends of Aileu, Merri Health, Wild Timor Coffee and private individuals funding works that will commence soon to complete an access pathway and steps, fencing and a landscaped, sheltered external waiting area.

Oral health education project

Since 2009, Friends of Aileu has been working on a program that involves the local dental staff running oral health awareness training in a local primary school. The pilot phase of project was evaluated and initially extended to two other schools near Aileu town. In 2016, funding from the UK-based Borrow Foundation allowed the program to be extended to cover a total of six schools including, at least one in each of Aileu's four Administrative Posts.

The Borrow Foundation funding has also allowed a more thorough review and evaluation of the project to be undertaken, which is reported on here: Kose Nehan Evaluation (PDF 2Mb).  The project has now been refined on the basis of this evaluation

The project is coordinated by Prof Martin Hall, Dental Health Services Victoria, and Dr Bradley Christian, La Trobe University, Bendigo.  

North Richmond Community Health Centre has supported the project from its inception, currently through a time allowance for dental nurse Ms Sally Vong, who along with other NRCH staff members, has visited Aileu several times to undertake clinical examinations, and liaise with the school principals and the Aileu Health Centre's dental team and the Aileu Municipal Administration. Sally Vong also provides advice and assistance to Ana Tilman, a recently-graduated dental nurse from Laulara, who has been engaged to provide ongoing support for the program in the schools.

Other support had been provided by Prof Hany Calache, Deakin University, the Victorian Dental and Health Therapist Association, and Colgate Australia, the latter donating supplies of toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Aileu Resource and Training Centre

Friends of Aileu supports programs at the Aileu Resource and Training Centre (ARTC) - a non-government organisation in Aileu that provides a range of training and community development programs. It is housed in the small public library building in Aileu, which is owned by the Ministry of Education.

Friends of Aileu has provided funds for the renovation and equipping of the Centre, including provision of an internet connection, and to support some of the training and community development programs provided by the Centre

With generous donations from Glenyys and Graeme Romanes, Friends of Aileu has been able to continue to support the Centre's professional development program for its staff. 

Guida Xavier Pereira, the first ARTC staff members to have received a scholarship under the program, completed a Business Management degree in Indonesia and returned to work as ARTC Director in 2014. In 2015 the second scholarship recipient, Natalia Ximenes, completed an Accounting degree, also in Indonesia.  Natalia returned to ARTC in 2017 and took up the role of Director, following Guida's move to a new role at the the Uma Ita Nian Parish Clinic.

The staff development program also enabled ARTC staff member Sabino Lere to return to university in Dili and complete the last year of his previously deferred IT degree and graduate in 2018. 

Each year the Centre holds a craft and produce expo to showcase local production of food products, craft and traditional medicines, which is supported by the friends of Aileu. The Centre also organises the annual Science and Reading Contest in Aileu, which involves students from every school in the District and is supported by Friends of Aileu. Friends of Aileu has also supported a youth cultural group that teaches and performs traditional songs and dances, using traditional instruments.

Read more about the Aileu Resource and Training Centre (ARTC) (PDF 832Kb).

Cr Andy Ingham - Aileu University Scholarship Program

Scholarship Holders – 2011 scholarship winners

Cr Andy Ingham was a Councillor with the Brunswick and Moreland City Councils and involved in local government for over 20 years, until his death in July 2001.

Cr Ingham was the inaugural Chairman of the Friends of Aileu, and visited the Aileu District in April 2000.  He had a passion for East Timor and a desire to support this new nation in establishing peace, independence and happiness for its people. In particular, Cr Ingham highlighted his desire to help with improving the training, education and capacity building opportunities for young and not so young people of East Timor.

The Friends of Aileu Community Committee and the Councils of Hume and Moreland wanted to commemorate his tireless work and our fond memories of Cr Ingham in a project that produces tangible, sustainable outcomes for the people of East Timor. This led to the establishment of the Cr Andy Ingham-Aileu University Scholarship Program to provide tertiary scholarships for students from Aileu to undertake studies in Timor-Leste.

The program has been extended to provide more opportunities for students to engage in agriculture studies, and for some students to take courses at universities in Indonesia.

A review of the Aileu University Scholarship Program is nearing completion.  The review is being conducted by the Aileu Municipal Administration in collaboration with the Friends of Aileu.  The review includes consideration of the recommendations of a report of an interview survey of most of past recipients.  The report, commissioned by the Friends of Aileu, was undertaken by the Aileu Anan Association and completed in 2019.

Scholarship recipients

Thirty-four students were assisted with costs for the university studies 2016.  The program will continue in 2017 with funds raised at the Annual Trivia Night, a contribution from the Kangaroo Valley Remexio Partnertship and a donation from the Pascoe Vale Uniting Church. 

Several scholarship holders have graduated and are assisting in development in Aileu and Timor-Leste, including through the work of the Aileu University Students Association (KEUMA), Rotaract Club of Aileu and Aileu Anan Associartion, and through employment in both the public and private sectors.

School Education Support (formerly Secondary Scholarship Program)

In 2004 Hume City Council decided to make available 10 scholarships for students in Aileu attending junior secondary school who wished to proceed to senior high school, but whose parents could not afford to pay for their education.

The students, who were nominated by the Aileu Relationship Commission on the advice of school principals and the education authorities in Aileu, were chosen because of their academic potential.

The program continued in 2016, with 27 secondary scholarships were awarded.  The program will continue in 2017, with the Hume City Council grant supplemented by a contribution from the Kangaroo Valley Remexio Partnership.

Several scholarship holders have gone on to further study or found employment, including in Aileu District.

At the request of the Municipal Administration, since 2017, the funds formerly directed to the secondary scholarship program have instead been used to support other school education priorities ,including assessment and evaluation of learning outcomes and improved science equipment in schools.

Supporting volunteers in Aileu

Since 2004, the Friends of Aileu has supported a number of volunteers in Aileu for periods of several months to over two years.

To date, volunteers have included two teachers, two project officers and a government administration adviser. We are hoping to employ another volunteer advisor in Aileu in the near future.

Solar lighting project

Since 2004, Friends of Aileu has been working with the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) to install solar lighting systems in public buildings in the Aileu District, and more recently in village households.

In 2010, the ATA volunteers and locally trained technicians finished installing 120 household aolar lighting systems in the village of Besilau, with funds raised by partner organisation, the Moora Moora Cooperative Community. This project has served as a pilot scheme providing valuable learning that has been applied in other village lighting scheme throughout Timor-Leste.

By the end of 2013, around 1000 had also been installed by the ATA in three villages in the Remexio Sub-District, with funds from the Kangaroo Valley - Remexio Partnership (NSW). The village lighting scheme continues to be extended to other villages in Remexio.

In 2014 the ATA received a significant grant from Google to extend the village lighting schemes to other areas of Timor-Leste focussing on those most remote households which are unlikely to be connected to the national electricity grid.  As part of this work, the older pilot program installations in 35 remote households in Besilau were upgraded to the current improved standard for the village lighting schemes during 2015 and 2016.

Friendship schools

Friends of Aileu assists a number of Australian schools that have links with schools in Aileu District. These schools exchange letters and photos and have raised funds to improve facilities at the schools in Aileu.

These include:

  • Brunswick North West Primary, linked with Sarlala Primary in Aileu Vila Subdistrict
  • Fahan Primary in Sandy Bay, Tasmania, linked with Daisioli Primary in Aileu Vila Subdistrict
  • Echuca West Primary, linked with Bereleu Primary in Lequidoe Subdistrict, and
  • Salesian College, Sunbury, linked with Aileu Senior High School in Aileu town
  • St Augustine’s College, Kyabram linked with Aileu Technical and Vocational High School, and
  • St Joseph's College, Echuca linked with St Peter and Paul's Catholic College in Aileu.

In recent years St Joseph's College have brought a group of Year 11 students on an annual basis, spending two weeks in Aileu on immersion visits at St Peter and Paul College, Aileu Vila, and in the Lequidoe Administrative Post.

A project involving students creating of artwork from three schools in Australia (Brunswick North West Primary, Meadows Primary and St Augustine's Primary) and three schools in Aileu (Sarlala Primary, Malere No 2 Primary and St Peter and St Paul's Primary) commenced in 2013. The artwork was created around the themes of ’My Family’ and ’My School - Games I Like to Play’. The artwork was displayed at Meadows Primary, St Augustine's Primary, and at the Moreland and Hume Council offices.

If your school would like to know more about participating in the friendship school relationship, you can contact Council (attention Friends of Aileu Project Officer).

Visitors from Aileu

Since 2001 a number of officials and community representatives from Aileu have visited Hume and Moreland for study tours over periods of several days to several weeks. These visitors include: District Administrator of Aileu Sra Maria Paixao, Economic and Social Development Officer and later Chief of District Development (also Friendship Liaison Officer) Sr Mario Soares, Acting District Administrator Sr Antonio Belo, District Administrator Sr Martinho Matos, Deputy District Administrator Sr Abel da Conceicao, Aileu District Planning Officer Sr Domingos Vidigal, Aileu Vila Subdistrict Community Development Officer Sr Camilo da Costa and the Coordinator of the Aileu Resource and Training Centre Sra Maria Diamantina Martins.

With support from CETAF, Sr Oscar Paulino Mali from the Aileu Department of Agriculture spent several months on a study tour in the Campaspe area and at GOTAFE Shepparton on an Abbey Foundation scholarship.

With support from Friends of Aileu, three young people from Aileu (Abilio d’Araujo, Thomas Borges and Cedaliza dos Santos, all former recipients of Friends of Aileu scholarships) and Jose Maria Tilman, have studied English in Melbourne on Walter Mangold Foundation English in Australia Scholarships.

Friends of Aileu visits to Timor-Leste

There have been a number of working visits to Aileu by Hume and Moreland representatives including: Hume Councillors Karen Sherry, Joseph Haweil and  and Helen Patsikatheodorou, the late Gary Jungwirth (as Councillor and later several times as a FOA community member), Moreland Councillors Mark Riley, Lambros Tapinos, Alice Pryor, Joe Caputo and Mark Higginbotham, former Brunswick and Moreland Councillor the late Andy Ingham, and the Friends of Aileu Project Coordinator.

Representatives of partner organisations have also made a number of working visits to Aileu. These include Moora Moora Co-operative Community, Alternative Technology Association, Merri Health, North Richmond Community Health and CERES, as well as Campaspe East Timor Association in Friendship (CETAF) and Kangaroo Valley Remexio Partnership.

Friends of Aileu has also assisted visits to Aileu by the Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich and members of the PrimeSci! team (Swinburne and Monash Universities) who set up a pre-history exhibition of information on geology and fossil plants and animals, and by the Thursday’s Voices community choir who performed in Aileu with the Aileu teachers’ choir and other local music and singing groups.