Timor-Leste is Australia’s closest neighbour and is considered one of the poorest countries in South East Asia. Fatuquero is a small village nestled in the hills of the Ermera District – an hour’s drive from the capital Dili and Cornish College has a direct relationship with the Fatuquero School. The school is a lower secondary school (Years 7 – 9) in the morning and a primary school in the afternoon. There are eight classrooms for about 500 students.
Starting in 2016, staff from Cornish College began visiting the Fatuquero School and in 2019, the relationship further developed with twelve VCE students also visiting. One of those students, Polly, reflected on her experience. “It gave me a sense of responsibility towards using the amazing privileges that I was born into, to do everything in my power to make a difference in their lives.” This amazing experience has cemented Timor-Leste into the Cornish community’s desire to make a difference.
Cornish College currently raises funds to support volunteer teachers, provide scholarships to deserving students, provide resources to enhance the teaching of English, and aims to provide our students opportunities to visit Timor-Leste. The relationship between our two schools is one of support and exchange, perhaps best described by the acronym IMPACCT – Immersion, Mission, Partnership, Action, Challenge, Culture, and Teaching.
Everything about the relationship has an impact on the lives of those involved, both at Cornish and the Fatuquero School.
In 2021, Cornish hosted the inaugural Timor-Leste Colour Celebration where, students and the Cornish community raised funds in support of our friends at the Fatuquero School.
The IMPACCT experience includes:
- Immersion into life in Timor-Leste
- A chance to be part of the Mission that Cornish has to make a difference
- To help develop the Partnership with the Fatuquero School
- To take some positive Action in a country that requires assistance
- To be Challenged by the experience
- To experience the unique Timorese Culture
- To be involved in the English Teaching program at Fatuquero
Cornish’s support for the Fatuquero School has included the refurbishment of the school library, scholarships for ten students, living allowances for three volunteer staff and funding for a dedicated volunteer at the school to become a qualified teacher. Support from the Cornish community continues to make this possible, with fundraising contributing to important classroom activities and student visits.
Quotes from students who have participated in the experience
“Although I have always valued human connection and generosity, this trip allowed me to have a context as to why I hold these values. It granted me a sense of responsibility towards using these amazing privileges that I was born into, to do everything in my power to make a difference in their lives. But what I did not expect is the difference that they could make in mine. I encourage anyone and everyone to apply for this trip because, as cliched as it sounds, it has changed my life more than I could have ever imagined.”
Polly, Year 12
“This trip for me was one of those defining moments that you look back on in 20 years and attribute to why you are the way that you are. It was a lot about helping others and recognising our privilege and doing something with it, but also it was a big growth trip for me. We met so many inspiring people on our trip; so many people who have dedicated their lives to making something better, helping others. These experiences stay with you and make you who you are, and inspire you to do better and be better.”
Tierney, Year 11
“This trip has woken me up to what a blessing our existence is…I don’t think we appreciate how truly incredible it is being able to speak English so easily. So many of the students told me that learning English was the only way to achieve their dreams of receiving further education in order to have a job in the future. And this is such a small example of what I take for granted every day. I implore all Cornish students to have a look at what we have, and how lucky we are purely because we were born in a position where we can experience the ease of life that we do, by chance.”
Emily, Year 11
Register your interest
Register your interest in supporting the Cornish College Timor-Leste IMPACCT program:
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Cornish College is hoping to raise $5,000 for our Timor-Leste IMPACCT campaign to fund our commitments for 2022. We would really appreciate your support.
NB: These donations are not tax deductible.