Harking back 20 years, the plight of the impoverished Timorese people was pitiful.
Let’s listen to them:
• “We fought for our independence and won.
• Our occupiers scorched the earth and left us without homes and fields.
• We foraged in hedges for roots and grasses to feed our children.
• We had no work. We had no education.
• We had no hope for the future. “
Not only scorched earth, but the people were left with virtually nothing!
After these terrible times, Australia was given a mandate to lead the INTERFET multinational task force to restore peace and security In East Timor.
Not long after, St Canice’s organised a task force and travelled to Railaco to offer friendship, and to bring hope to the now impoverished people.
They stayed with the Timorese in their villages and went on to form a sister parish relationship with the Jesuits in Railaco. On returning to Sydney, they started raising funds to provide food for kids in remote mountain communities, medicines for mums, and a secondary school for older children.
Since those early days, the little Jesuit parish of St Canice’s has raised over $1 million. Our friends and neighbours in Railaco have YOU to thank. We thank you.
20 years on, this long-standing relationship is evolving.
In the coming year, we consider our best efforts should be focused on providing secondary education for rural youth.
In Jesuit education, we strive not only for academic excellence, but formation of the total person as ‘Men and Women for Others’. In turn, as you can well imagine, formation of the teachers is critical.
St Canice’s provides salaries for 13 specially trained teachers . . . with remarkable results – Last year, all 123 students in Year 12 passed the national exams. 60% were girls! . . . Empowering women transforms communities across generations.
. . . It’s immense social change – transitional.
We’ve learned a great deal from the journey. . . but the need goes on.
$40,000 is our Education target for this year. This enables the Railaco parish school to continue producing qualified ‘Men and Women for Others’. . . to go forth, leading their generation to EMERGE out of hard times and into a brighter future . . .
. . . And we won’t forget little children from low-income rural families. Our Children’s Feeding Program will continue.
PLEASE COME to our special Ignatius Day Mass – 10 am on 30th July. We’ll be appealing to your generosity, to donate. As St Ignatius always stressed to his followers: This is not just about money. We’re inviting you to be part of our Railaco family, connected in mutual friendship and mission.
Our Timor family will be so grateful with whatever you can afford.
But, like the family budget, some certainty of income is very welcome. A recurring donation each month would be so helpful. You can cover the cost of the salary for one of the specially trained teachers – for $20 a month, or $240 for one year.
Tuition fees for one aspiring student – $12.50 a month, $37.50 for three months, or $150 for a year. The Australian dollar goes such a long way up there in Timor.
Since the arrival of Fr Dave, several young adults have joined a parish initiative known as Colombière Social Enterprises. They bring new eyes and added energy to take our 20-year Railaco relationship to a different level. Some have already travelled to Timor to seek-out post-school opportunities to create employment for our graduating students of NOSSEF. You will be hearing much more about this soon.