Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee
Since 2006, the City of Greater Bendigo has been supporting local residents and organisations to develop a friendship 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 Victorian local government areas. 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 are pleased to support the District of Ainaro.
The Bendigo Maubissee Friendship Committee is a section 86 Committee of the City of Greater Bendigo with broad representation from across the community.
The relationship is mutually beneficial. The Maubisse community receives practical support and friendship to assist in developing the independent nation of East Timor. Bendigo residents can experience East Timorese culture and connect on our significant shared history.
The Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee
The Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee is committed to developing a strong, ongoing friendship built on mutual respect, empowerment and collaboration. Our work in Maubisse helps improve living standards, access to basic services, training, capacity building and social programs. We embrace ecologically sustainable development principles, respect local systems, cultures and laws, and uphold the principles of social justice.
The current committee (in conjunction with the Alola Foundation) has initiated a scholarship program which enables selected students in Maubisse to complete their secondary and tertiary education. Scholarship Information and Donor Form.
Other ongoing projects 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 explore how their specialist skills may be of benefit to the Maubisse community.
Maubisse is located in the central highlands of Timor Leste in the Ainaro District, 73 kilometres south of the city of Dili and 1,300 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.
A typical Maubisse resident is a member of a subsistence farming family who exist on less than a $350 annual income 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 any sort of medical help during childbirth and the only option for keeping mosquitoes from the baby is to fill the house with smoke.
To find out more or get involved with the Bendigo-Maubisse Friendship Committee, call 03 5434 6000 or email [email protected]
Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend.
To keep up to date with the Bendigo Maubisse Friendship Committee's activities, join the committee's newsletter by emailing [email protected].