In 2008, Macedon Ranges Shire Council supported developing a friendship with the sub-district of Turiscai in Timor-Leste. As a result of this, a local community group, the Macedon Ranges Friends of East Timor (MRFoET) was established to develop this friendship.
In 2014, a Friendship Agreement was signed by representatives of the three partners and in 2016 a revised municipal cooperation agreement was signed between Macedon Ranges Shire Council and the district of Manufahi. Turiscai is one of the four sub-districts in Manufahi.
The facilitation of the friendship with Timor-Leste is led by MRFoET who work with the local communities in Turiscai to identify and develop projects. Macedon Ranges Shire Council supports the activities of MRFoET and partners on governance development and capacity building initiatives such as study tours and exchange programs. Both Council and MRFoET work on raising awareness in Macedon Ranges of the issues in Timor-Leste and developing ongoing support. MRFOET’s work is focused on the strategic areas of:
- maternal and child health
- economic and community development.
Key achievements and programs commenced of the partnerships so far
- Established a local Community Reference Group in Turiscai to identify needs and opportunities for collaboration with the Macedon Ranges community.
- First stage of a teacher training program delivered to 26 primary school and two kindergarten teachers in partnership with the Alola Foundation.
- Locally-appropriate readers printed by the YWCA in Dili and distributed to all 13 primary schools in Turiscai.
- Delivered equipment and teaching materials donated by local (Macedon Ranges) primary schools and toy libraries to two recently established kindergartens in Turiscai.
- Delivered ex-Macedon Ranges Shire Council sports uniforms to be used in local sporting activities for young people.
During 2020 and until March 2021 COVID-19 was kept “under control” as the country was in lockdown. There were no infections until March 2021 when infections increased and a state of emergency was declared. Then on 4 April 2021 Cyclone Seroja flooded communities and devastated much of Timor Leste.
- MRFoET has since funded the delivery of food and basic essentials to families severely affected with a contribution of AU$4000.00.
- In partnership with JDN University and tertiary students in the capital Dili have been delivered food packages to value of AU$1500.00.
- MRFoET are continuing to respond to community needs in the wake of the devastation caused by flooding from the cyclone and the impacts of COVID-19.
2021 Kyneton Antique Fair
MRFoET will host the 24th annual Kyneton Antique Fair on the first weekend of September. This will be at the Quambi Stadium, Sacred Heart College Kyneton. The event hopes to raise awareness of MRFoET in the community, and funds for programs in Turiscai.
For more information on Council’s partnership in Timor-Leste, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Fran Wigley, MRFoET President email@example.com.