2014-12-10 EAST TIMOR

Marist Solidarity

On Friday November 14 the St Francis De Assis Primary School in Caicido, Timor-Leste, was opened by the Assistant Minster of Education of the Timor Leste Government and blessed by the bishop of Baucau, Dom Basilio do Nasciemento. The first half of the school construction was funded by the Portuguese Government but due to a surge in student growth Australian Marist Solidarity (AMS) was approached by the Diocese of Baucau Catholic Education Office to be the funder of the second stage. AMS secured funding from Kindermisionswerk, Germany, and Combined Services, Ireland with the support of schools of the Marist Schools Australia network.

In true Timorese style the opening was marked with a five hour ceremony throughout which speeches and symbolic cultural gestures were made. The local community of Caicido created and sustained a festive mood despite the dry season and it's heat. Students performed local dances in traditional dress much to the delight of the visitors.

Brother Allen Sherry, executive director of AMS, spoke of the gratitude Marists have to be invited to partner with a local community such as Caicido and to be always welcomed by them when Marist immersion groups arrive there annually. Also he indicated the Marist tradition follows the educational perspective of St Marcellin Champagnat to educate for good Christians and good citizens. This was the hope the Marists had for the classes in the new construction. He also thanked the three principal donors, all of whom had been very patient in three years that it had taken to complete the project due to lack of local building materials, labour and expertise.

This project is one of 27 currently being undertaken in Timor-Leste, including twelve school renovation or construction projects for the diocese, by the Marist Solidarity offices. 



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