Bendigo-Maubisse Friendship Committee
Since 2006, the City of Greater Bendigo has been supporting local residents and organisations to develop a friendship relationship with the sub-district of Maubisse in Timor Leste. This relationship was further strengthened when the Victorian Government signed a Protocol of Cooperation in 2014 with the Timor Leste Government, aligning various districts in Timor Leste with many local Government areas in Victoria. The City of Greater Bendigo formed an agreement with the District of Ainaro (of which Maubisse is a sub-district) in partnership with the City of Ballarat. The Friendship Committees of both cities look forward to working closely together.
The Committee is a section 86 Committee of the City of Greater Bendigo with broad representation from across the community.
The friendship relationship between Greater Bendigo and Maubisse is mutually beneficial.
The Maubisse community receives practical support and friendship to assist to develop the independent nation of East Timor. Bendigo residents have the opportunity to experience East Timorese culture and connect with neighbours with whom we share a significant history.
Maubisse is located in the central highlands of Timor Leste in the Ainaro District, 73 kilometres south of the city of 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.
This 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 less than a $350 annual income and who 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 any sort of medical help during childbirth and the only option for keeping mosquitoes from the baby is to fill the house with smoke.
The Bendigo-Maubisse Friendship Committee
The Bendigo-Maubisse Friendship Committee is committed to developing a strong, ongoing friendship with the community of Maubisse, built on mutual respect, empowerment and collaboration.
The Committee’s work in Maubisse contributes to improved living standards, access to basic services, training, capacity building and social programs.
The Committee’s work embraces ecologically sustainable development principles, respects local systems, cultures and laws, and upholds the principles of social justice and engages both the Maubisse and Bendigo communities in its programs.
The current committee, in conjunction with the Alola Foundation, has imitated a scholarship program which enables selected students in Maubisse to be sponsored to complete their secondary and tertiary education. Scholarship Information and Donor Form.
Other ongoing projects undertaken by BMFC at the request of the Maubisse community include programs in dental health, ultrasound equipment provision and training, teacher training, art classes for students and community art activities.
The Committee welcomes the contribution of volunteers in all capacities. Volunteers are invited to participate in working bees, fundraising events or exploring how specialist skills may be of benefit to the Maubisse community.
To find out more about or to get involved with the Bendigo-Maubisse Friendship Committee contact us on 03 5434 6000 or email [email protected]
Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend. Meetings are held from 7:30-8:30am on the first Friday of each month in the Reception Room, City of Greater Bendigo offices, 195-229 Lyttleton Terrace, Bendigo. Our first meeting of 2018 will be Friday 9 February at 7.30am. This is to accommodate the team currently in Timor Leste. The March meeting will revert to the usual time of the first Friday of the Month.
To keep up to date with the Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee's activities, request the committee's newsletter by emailing [email protected].