Before the SSP Team left Timor Leste, we recruited two amazing in-country volunteers; Kim Paxton and Ruth Kimball, both of whom have been in Timor Leste for the last 4 years and are familiar with the projects there and the society and culture. Kim works as an English teacher as well as specialising in social projects for women and children and is a volunteer at Pradet which is an organization that provides shelter, safe housing, counselling and other services to victims of domestic violence, abuse and trafficking as well as providing all mental health care in Timor Leste. Ruth has worked as a Child Protection and Youth Development Advisor works for several organisations in Dili, helping some of the poorest children in the area and is currently working as a consultant in the same area for UNICEF.
They have delivered two projects since we have left to continue making sure that some of the children who are most in need are still receiving our help when we are back in the UK.
The first project they delivered was to MAC, (Movimento de Adolescentes e Criancas) a centre which was started in 2001 at a time when many children were displaced on the streets and were subject to corporal punishment and domestic violence, the centre is now run by those very same young people. The MAC drop-in center offers a vareity of classes to the community including children’s rights education, youth development, youth leadership, health and hygiene education, peace-building and promotion, cultural education and sports, enviornmental education, visual arts, radio and communication. Here Ruth and Kim provided food and water for the snack program and school supplies such as chairs for the library and stationery. The centre is hugely lacking in funding but it provides a safe place for many children from poor areas to go to play and learn outside of school. The snacking program is one of the services which attracts children to the centre, without it they would risk losing some of the children who attend and then more of them would be on the streets and putting themselves in danger.
Ruth and Kim delivered a shoe distribution project to CCYCF ( Comoro Children & Youth Centre Foundation) in Comoro market, a notoriously dangerous part of Dili and a particularly poor part of town. This is a centre which provides low-cost affordable education, pre-schooling for children and further education for adults. There are 104 permenant children but there can be up to 200 attendees. On the day there were 130 children with siblings and parents. Each child was given food and water and a pair of shoes. The project was well received, it ran smoothly and the community were very grateful. Ruth and Kim reported that the parents were just as excited as the children as previously many of the children only had flip flops and couldn’t afford proper shoes. Now they have proper footwear to play sports at school and just in time for the Badminton for Peace tournament! We wish them the best of luck!
A huge well done and thank you to Ruth and Kim, you have done a tremendous job!