Our program focus is to be supportive of local initiatives and to build upon the capacities, strengths and traditions that already exist within the community. Through regular social media, email and routine phone conversations with our colleagues in Baucau, we respond to local requests through partnerships with existing agencies currently working or planning to work in Baucau. We aim for annual visits and regular communication by email and phone with our key partners in order to best understand how we can assist. During the past years our focus areas have been Scholarships, Women’s Empowerment, Sustainable Livelihoods including Solar and Permaculture, Arts & Youth, and Oral Health. During 2019 our focus was on the first three of these.
In 2019 we paid the full scholarship amount for three students to attend or continue to attend the Teacher Training College in Baucau (ICFP). Scholarships are awarded by the College to students from the City of Baucau who pass the entrance exams but would struggle to pay the fees. FoB Scholarship students are Francelina Maia da Costa, Julieta da Silva and Guida Amelia Soares Gusmao Goulant. Julieta da Silva finished 3rd year this year and wants to complete her Licenciatura (equivalent to the Bachelor of Education in Australia) next year, specialising in Portuguese Language Education. We also had the pleasure of catching up with one of the Teachers, Zelia da Costa while visiting Melbourne in August.
FoB maintained regular contact with our key partners focused on supporting Women in Baucau including the Centre for Women’s Development (CFHD), the Women’s Shelter (Uma Pas) and the Women’s Association for Baucau.
CFHD continues with their ongoing support including regular workshops to women and families affected by domestic violence. Funding comes mainly from Caritas Australia with incidental support from FoB.
During the FoB/DNHN Tour to Baucau in May packets of heirloom vegetable seeds were given to farmers in several villages. The seeds were generously donated by Clive and Penny Blazey from the Diggers Club and handed out to the best farmers in the community to cultivate in the first year and then share among others. This was a great way of sharing our resources although it still remains to be seen whether crops grown so well here will also be useful in Baucau.
After considerable planning in Baucau and fundraising in Melbourne and working in partnership with the Timorese National Permaculture Organisation, Permatil, a weeklong workshop introduced the ideology and practice of Community School Gardens to Aubaca Central Primary School and its seven branch/feeder schools. Principals, Teachers and parent representatives attended the workshops and practical lessons and began working on their school gardens in late November as the first rains came. FoB provided the funding for this program and will continue to support further schools across Baucau into the future. Rui Sequeira, Xefe Samalari, FoB’s Sustainability Program Manager and Marqy da Costa from Afalyca played a major role in the on-ground coordination of the program. The 2000 + students from the 8 schools and their parent’s communities will take benefit from this program into the future.
FoB has responded to Covid 19 in Timor-Leste with support to local NGOs and the Baucau Municipal Authority.