Ground Breaking Ceremony of the New Orphanage at Hera, Timor-Leste
In June, the First Lady of Timor-Leste, Ms. Isabel Ferrerira and H.E. Archbishop Joseph Marino, the Apostolic Nuncio to Timor-Leste attended a ground breaking ceremony at the site of a soon to be constructed orphanage for boys in Hera. The construction will be funded by the Order of Malta and be operated by the Dominican Sisters of Timor-Leste.
The ceremony included speeches given by Sister Milagros Duarte OP, the Superior of the Congregation and Father Santiago Gonzalez OP who officiated the ground blessing and Ambassador David Scarf AM who represented the Order of Malta.
The orphanage will be home to 22 boys from the ages of 8 to 26 years and will be funded by the Order of Malta.
The Dominican Sisters provide for the basic needs of the children: clothing, food, school materials, school fees, and medical costs when necessary. However the new orphanage was desperately needed, as the children currently live in a make shift zinc roofed dormitory and sleep two to a single size sponge mattress on the floor. The building also has incomplete bathrooms and toilets.
The new orphanage will consist of a dormitory block with toilet and bathroom facilities, a dining room, kitchen, study, laundry and common areas, which will be built on the existing 2.5 hectare site.
Farming and crop growing are already underway at the site. This will not only provide the Orphanage with food security it will provide the children with practical skills.
Without the Orphanage it is likely that many of the children would be living on the street . Thankfully these children are able to finish high school, with some going on to university.
In addition to the orphanage providing a loving home for the children, it will also seek to develop the surrounding community through employment, training and economic development.
The success of this project has been due to the efforts of Confrere Collin Yap, a Member of the Australian Association who is the only Member of the Order based in Timor-Leste. Collin identified the project and raised the money to finance the building through Members of the Order in Singapore and their friends.