Subject: Helping hand in Timor

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)

February 7, 2004 Saturday

Helping hand in Timor

THE Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) is supporting several projects in two areas in East Timor, Iliomar and Uato-Carbau.

Member council donations are sponsoring:

* Rehabilitation of a damaged Portuguese building as a town meeting centre;

* Establishment of a women's house and kindergarten;

* A public notice board and regular information bulletin;

* Solar lighting at health posts (for after hours treatment);

* Repairs to Iliomar High School;

* A friendship school program; and

* An extension of a medical post.

In October last year SSROC President, Cr Barry Cotter, the mayor of Marrickville, and the mayor of Randwick, Cr Dominic Sullivan, together with SSROC executive director, Ms Melissa Gibbs, visited the two areas in East Timor.

They reported that expectations of what could be achieved in a short time were exceeded.

They established relationships with key leaders, a Friendship agreement was signed and discussions held with schools, churches, women's and youth organisations about the needs and the hopes of these communities.

A former UN volunteer in Iliomar, Mr Ernie Chamberlain, was able to take part in the visit, along with the East Timor Consul General in Sydney, Mr Abel Guterres. They interpreted at meetings and helped open doors.

SSROC delegates at a meeting in November agreed to support the projects. Members councils include Botany Bay, Canterbury, Hurstville, Kogarah, Marrickville, Rockdale, South Sydney, Sutherland Shire, Waverley and Woollahra.

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