Thankfully, the recent floods and spread of Covid in East Timor have not impacted the people of Railaco in a big way. In heavily populated areas such as the capital Dili and some other areas, Jesuit Social Services Timor-Leste has been very actively involved in distributing food, clothing and blankets to those affected. Fr Bong reports from Railaco that plans for 2021 for the Mobile Medical Clinic and Children’s Feeding Program just continue as before.
Some years ago, the Jesuits were offered ten hectares of land about seven kilometres from the school. In October of 2019, taking the initiative and drawing on his family background in agriculture, Br Apu was able to organise the ‘dormers’ (as they are affectionately known) to begin work on a farm. This would provide food not only for the ‘dormers’, but for the Railaco Jesuit community, and other students in the NOSSEF canteen.
The students of NOSSEF, the Jesuits' Railaco secondary school of nearly 400, see the blessings that their education brings them and therefore they focus on their studies. Last year, all students passed the national exams and the school came 2nd in the country only to be pipped by the Jesuit-run school outside of Dili. Amazing achievement because these are children from poor villages who have experienced the brunt of their recent brutal history.