Subject: Brighton Timorese project hits wall

Leader Community Newspapers

Brighton Timorese project hits wall

23 Apr 09 @ 06:00am by Julie McCartin

A FUNDING crisis is forcing a Brighton-based charity to close its operations in East Timor.

Australian Aid International operation director Frank Tyler said it was vital its East Timor health program continued because there would be an outbreak of disease and death if the program ended.

He said the non-profit organisation had run out of money following the shock withdrawal of its sponsor, Perth oil and gas company Oilex.

Mr Tyler said he was trying desperately to raise money to continue its health care program for Timorese nationals that costs $180,000 a year.

"Oilex agreed to fund the program for five years, but after two years they have had to cut their funding," he said. Oilex office manager Maura Hinds said the partnership had achieved "tremendous results" in East Timor, but that it would now fund the training of Timorese nationals to suit Oilex's ongoing operations there.

She said there would be a particular focus on developing English language skills.

Ms Hinds said the project had decreased maternal mortality rates, infant mortality, and the prevention of treatable diseases in the country.

Mr Tyler said the health program had been backed by East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta.

Mr Tyler said Oilex had been fantastic in those first two years of operation, but the charity required $15,000 to remain afloat in the immediate future. 

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