In 2019, ERFA was one of 46 Australian community organisations to receive an Australian Aid: Friendship Grant. The grants were awarded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to expand or enhance international development activities in 15 countries in our region.
ERFA partnered with Mary MacKillop Today in a community-led project in Railaco, Timor-Leste, which empowers teachers and parents with long-term skills and knowledge to ensure children can receive a quality education.
During the year, 37 pre-school and primary school teachers participated in workshops on classroom management, self-confidence, positive discipline, creative lesson-planning and teaching preparation as well as enhancing classroom creativity through arts and crafts.
Teachers were also provided with class sets of Tetun Literacy resources to use in the classroom to improve the literacy skills for their students. These books align with the national curriculum and a total of 15 schools from Railaco have received 1600 books (1540 story books and 60 dictionaries). This ensures hundreds of children have access to resources that are culturally, linguistically and socially inclusive and relevant.
Workshops were also provided for 121 parents in the community, ensuring over 231 children receive support from their parents at home. Some of the parents reported that this was the first time that they have ever felt comfortable to attend a training like this, as many are illiterate and did not have the opportunity to attend school themselves.
Agostinho Lobato from Railaco Leten is an enthusiastic Parents Program participant, and reported on how the Program had opened his eyes to how he could support his children at home:
“This training has helped me so much, I now understand how to read a book to my children at home every night, I understand the importance of my involvement in my children’s education, even outside of the classroom…”
Images courtesy of Mary MacKillop Today staff.