The Don Bosco Schools, together with those run by the Salesian Sisters, are the largest network of non-government schools in Timor Leste.

Funds transferred from ASMOAF have been used for school running costs, luncheon programs, payment of salaries as well urgent repairs and maintenance to ensure the facilities are safe for students.

Despite facing many challenges, the Timorese are always welcoming and optimistic.

Sadly, poverty is still rampant. Hunger is a daily fact of life. Most families rely on subsistence farming and rice cultivation as their primary source of food and income. Because of drastic weather pattern and other threats – such as pests and crop disease, the country suffers from the highest rates of malnutrition and stunted growth in Asia.

I grew up in a rural village near Laga, where my parents were subsistence farmers with very little money.

My home was located over three hours away, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to study and board at Don Bosco Agricultural School Fuiloro. There I enjoyed my studies, making new friends and participating in a range of activities.

I recall the food consumed in the boarding house was grown in the school fields, where we worked after class. I have been fortunate to have won scholarships that enabled me to continue my education. I am now a technical assistant to the Director of Livestock and Veterinary Services in the Timor Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

I am very grateful for opportunities that Don Bosco Fuiloro opened up for me, and the Salesians who encouraged and taught me many of the essential lifeskills of public speaking, decision-making and leadership which I use today.

More than 100 boys, aged 6 -16, from unsettled backgrounds live at Don Bosco and attend local schools. It is a stable environment where they can do their homework, participate in games and sport. Developing survival skills are encouraged and these include working ‘after school’ in the vegetable garden and assisting with general maintenance around the residence.

The services provided at the Maria Auxiliardora Medical Clinic, Venilale are in great demand, with approximately 750 consultations a month. Babies and children are cared for, including patients that are treated for diseases; the demand for medicines and assistance is ongoing.

The Salesian Sisters have orphanages in Laga and Venilale, each of which accommodates about 100 girls. Government Authorities often ask the Sisters to provide emergency care and housing for girls in difficult situations. A constant challenge is to simply cover costs – made more difficult with the rising prices of food and other goods.

Consignments of emergency food relief have been sent to Timor Leste by Salesian Missions in partnership with the international agency Rise Against Hunger.

I was born in Ermera, Timor Leste in 1987. Sadly, my father was tragically killed in the massacre at the Santa Cruz cemetery on November 12,1989 when I was just two years old. I had an older sister (Rocinda) who was four, a younger sister (Gaudia) who was just one and brother still to be born.

In 2000, my uncle saw a way to assist my family and arranged for us three girls to live at the Salesian Sisters’ Orphanage in Laga during the school terms, where I completed my elementary education. I was then accepted into the ‘Sisters’ Mary Mazzarello High School Venilale.

After leaving school, I studied bookkeeping and office management. I am currently employed at East Timor Roofing Company in Baucau.

I thank God for the opportunities I have been given. I am especially grateful to the Salesian Sisters in Laga and Venilale for their care and kindness and from whom I learnt the value of hard work as well as the importance of being prepared and organised.

OUR URGENT NEED is to assist the Salesians of Don Bosco who offer food, shelter, clean water, medical, hygiene supplies, education and a safe place to stay.

Donations are tax deductible. Find out more here

Tina Newton

Salesian Missions Australia

Please note that the Australian Salesian Missions Overseas Aid Fund (ASMOAF) is a registered fund owned and operated by the Salesian Society (Vic) Inc. All donations for Emergency Relief and Development is tax deductible. Salesian Missions Australia is a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and subscribe to its Code of Conduct and registered with The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC).

The Australian Salesian Overseas Mission Aid Fund takes your privacy very seriously. To read our policy pertaining to your privacy, click here. All of our other policies are available here.

To support incredible work such as this: