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City calls for enthusiastic people for Maubisse Friendship Committee

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The City of Greater Bendigo is looking for enthusiastic and compassionate people with strong skills in sewing, arts, fundraising, team-work and community projects to join the Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee.

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Margaret O'Rourke said the committee works on a community to community level to support the people of Maubisse which is located in the central highlands of Timor Leste, 73 kilometres south of the capital Dili.

"This committee was formed in 2006 and since that time has undertaken a range of fundraising and projects to directly benefit the people of Maubisse," Cr O'Rourke said.

"Members of the committee along with a number of other local residents are passionate about assisting East Timor and their efforts are definitely helping the country to recover and build strong communities.

"The committee works to improve living standards and access to basic services, community development, and broader health and wellbeing programs in the Maubisse community.

"The committee has undertaken a range of successful projects including arts and sewing programs, education scholarships, school and community buildings, oral health and other community projects.

“A strategy has also recently been developed to guide the future work of the committee and upgrade how it operates as a community organisation.

"I was pleased to see first-hand the fantastic results of Greater Bendigo's assistance when I visited Maubisse in 2017.  Our help is really making an enormous difference to both Maubisse and its people.

"If you want to help the people of Maubisse and Timor Leste then I encourage  you to consider applying for a position on the Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee as it will be a very rewarding experience."

There are six positions available on the committee and applications can be submitted online at www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/maubisse by Friday August 21, 2020.  Applications are open to all members of the Greater Bendigo community, as well as existing members of the committee whose term is expiring.

About the Maubisse region

  • Maubisse is located in the central highlands of Timor Leste in the Ainaro District, 73 kilometres south of the capital Dili and 1300 metres above sea level.
  • It has a population of 20,000 people and is the main coffee growing region of the country.
  • Its moderate climate produces green beans, mandarins, avocados, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and shallots.
  • Like most parts of Timor Leste, the Maubisse community experiences many challenges.
  • The fledgling economy faces barriers such as lack of employment, government structures, health services, education, transport and communications.
  • The typical Maubisse resident is a member of a subsistence farming family who exist on an annual income of less than $350 and live in a house with a dirt floor.  
  • A family may not have electricity, running water or transport (unless they are lucky enough to own a pony).
  • Children may attend a school with no furniture, books or pens and school can be cancelled for the whole wet season if the building leaks.
  • Only 10 per cent of mothers have access to medical assistance during childbirth.

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