Subject: Instrumental help

Whitehorse Leader

March 26, 2003 Wednesday

Instrumental help

By Larissa Ham

THE impoverished East Timorese region of Oecussi will receive a boost with a donation of 70 musical instruments collected from schools throughout Victoria.

Andrew Mott, the ensemble director at Blackburn High School, contacted 40 schools last year asking for donations of instruments.

The instruments will be used in a building being refurbished in Oecussi. The building was bombed out in the post-independent referendum violence in 1999.

The Whitehorse Friends for Oecussi group has raised $10,000 to start refurbishing the building, turning it into a youth centre and radio station.

"It will be somewhere for young people to congregate, learn work skills, basically keep them off the street," said Whitehorse councillor Bernie Millane, who helped start the group. Oecussi is one of the poorest parts of East Timor.

Up to 93 per cent of its population was unemployed last April, Cr Millane said.

The instruments to be donated include brass, strings, percussion and guitars.

Blackburn High School, Presbyterian Ladies College in Burwood and Mullauna College in Mitcham all donated instruments. Mr Mott said he hoped to make the instruments an ongoing venture, with more collected every year.

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