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Order of Malta Australia


Creating Leaders Alumni update – a student passionate about medicine.


Creating Leaders is an Order of Malta scholarship program in Timor-Leste that has been running for over 10 years and supports underprivileged children to participate in formal continuing education.

One of our Creating Leaders alumni, Maria, is now studing medicine in Portugal. She recently shared with us an update on her life since graduating from the program and a message of thanks to the Order of Malta and the donors who supported the scholarship program:

Dear Order of Malta,

I am very happy to have received your email and to know that the Order of Malta continues to support Timorese students who need assistance.

As an alumni of the Creating Leaders Scholarship program, I am pleased to share my adventure since graduating from the program 7 years ago.

I am Maria José, a medical student at Nova Medical School – Faculdade de Ciências Médicas of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. I am currently in the 5th year of the 6-year course. Throughout the course, I learned a lot about a completely new universe, made new friends and went through several medical specialties that, together, shaped me and made me who I am today: a student completely passionate about medicine.

I am grateful to my family and all the entities that have supported me throughout my journey, from my time at school in Timor-Leste to my current academic career. And of course, one of these entities is the Order of Malta.

The Order of Malta offered me financial support for around 6 years when I attended the Escola Portuguesa de Díli in Timor-Leste. This support covered everything from monthly fees to school lunches and school materials. Not only that, the Order of Malta also sponsored my study visit to CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland, after my team was recognized with “High Praise award” by CERN after we competed for the “Beamline for Schools” competition in April 2017. The Order of Malta, once again, helped me achieve one of the dreams I had.

In September 2017, the Order of Malta also supported me on the Dili-Lisbon travel ticket to be able to start my study here in Portugal. In the summer of 2019, the Order of Malta also financed my round-trip ticket to Timor-Leste, to visit my family and volunteer at the Order of Malta Medical Clinic in Dili for 1 month. During this month, I managed to gain new experiences and learn about the reality regarding health in Dili. I learned new things that I probably won’t learn here in Portugal due to the difference in health facilities and endemic cases in the two countries.

In short, the Order of Malta contributed immensely to my studies and to my adventures and experiences that I have had so far.

If everything goes well, I will finish my studies and become a doctor next year. I thank the Order of Malta for the support offered during this process.

To the donors of the Creating Leaders Scholarship Program, I sincerely thank you for the support you have given and continue to give to the Timorese students who benefit from this support. In a way, you are giving wings to these students’ dreams and reassuring them that they too can dream and that their dreams will not remain just dreams. I hope you can continue to provide them with that little push they need.

To the Order of Malta, thank you for everything and I hope that you get all the support you need from all parties and that you continue to make the dreams of many Timorese students come true.

Maria José 

The Creating Leaders scholarships provide not only the payment of school fees, but other assistance and support to help the children overcome barriers that might prevent their participation in education, such as transport, uniforms and meals.

A gift of as little as $100 a month could sponsor a child in the Creating Leaders Scholarship program.
Gifts of all sizes are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible for Australian taxpayers.
Maria in 2017 as a Creating Leaders Scholarship student.

Guiding principles for the Creating Leaders scholarships:

  • The children eligible to scholarship will come from disadvantaged situations.
  • Children who are nominated must demonstrate academic promise and enthusiasm for their studies
  • The children who will be awarded a scholarship will be taught that it comes with a responsibility of “service to those they can help”, according to the fundamental ethos of the Order of Malta.

The Australian Association

The Australian Association, formed in 1974, currently has in excess of 300 members and aspirant members across every State and Territory of Australia. We also have ongoing and strong links with the Order’s National Associations throughout the Asia Pacific Region including in Singapore and the Philippines and with members of the Order in New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Thailand and Korea. The Order of Malta is committed to serving Our Lords the Poor and Sick worldwide and has done so for over 900 years. This website shares with you the history, mission and current activities of the Order of Malta in Australia, and provides links to the work of the Order world-wide.