Subject: Feed the Mind project

From: Shirley Shackleton <>


Luro Village Children, East Timor.

When Barbara Owen was taken to an isolated three room school in East Timor (May 2002) she was disturbed by the lack of anything one would expect to see in even the most modest of classrooms - the school had no paper, writing materials or blackboard. In short there was nothing except bare walls and floors. The children walk several miles to attend the school and many are without shoes. Luro has no electricity, roads or clinic.

Barbara Owen did not use the age-old excuse: what can one person hope to achieve? Upon her return to Australia she contacted Rozamunda Waring, a member of the Australia East Timor Association who has been responsible for practical relief initiatives including distribution of food and medical supplies after the Indonesian military escalated the worst colonial withdrawal in history. In the year 2000 Rozamunda had organised an art auction by appealing to 12 leading Australian painters whose donated work raised $18,000 which benefited orphanages, clinics, schools and Falintil veterans. Owen and Waring set out to fill a container by appealing to Australian school children, teachers, universities, local businesses and friends who responded generously. When school children in four test schools were shown blow-ups of the village and the students, their response was overwhelming.

By the end of September Waring will have the great pleasure of delivering a container with all the needs of primary and secondary students including language books including Tetun (the lingua franca of Timor Lorosa'e) pencils, pens, exercise books, uniforms, whiteboards, desks, soccer balls, art materials, toys etc. etc. though just how she is going to actually get all this from the main road to Luro which is at the end of a dirt track, is a matter she will deal with in situ by consulting local authorities.

These two wonderful women are well on the way to becoming urban guerillas! They are now determined to widen their activities to include many other schools in East Timor off the beaten track in similar plight. These children and their parents have endured state violence since the Indonesian invasion of 1975. How tragic it would be if this generation were to grow up illiterate. It would be yet another punishment.

A container costs US $1,700. Donors are urgently needed. The FEED THE MIND PROJECT is in association with the Mary McKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies. If you would like to be part of the Feed the Mind Project please send your donation to:

Feed the Mind Project. MMIETS PO Box 299 St. Mary's NSW 1790 AUSTRALIA

Or contact Shirley Shackleton email:

Fax: Barbara Owens on : (02) 9369 2570 Fax: Rozamunda Waring on (02) 9955 2801

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