Friends em­bark on lat­est trip to sup­port La­cluta

Alpine Observer - - News -

By ANITA McPHER­SON

TEN years since they first ven­tured to Ti­mor Leste, an­other lo­cal con­tin­gent from Friends of La­cluta in Wangaratta has re­cently set off to con­tinue their work sup­port­ing iso­lated ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try.

Of the six peo­ple who are go­ing over this year, five are Alpine Shire res­i­dents.

Myrtle­ford’s Karen Jones and Sarah Deas flew into Dili two weeks ago while Evan Jones will be fol­low­ing them be­fore Bar­bara Broz and Terry Karis head over in Au­gust.

Reg­u­lar trekker, Karen Jones, said the friend­ship group tries to visit once or twice a year to main­tain their re­la­tion­ship with the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

She said they will visit the group’s schol­ar­ship stu­dents in Dili, visit schools and kinder­gartens and im­por­tantly, see and hear from the lo­cals which of the projects are go­ing well or what needs to be re­viewed.

“As com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Aus­tralia with La­cluta is dif­fi­cult, to talk, visit and be out in the com­mu­nity is re­ally im­por­tant,” she said.

“I have a case full of de­light­ful knit­ted and sewn dolls, and lots of pen­cils do­nated by school and kinder chil­dren lo­cally.

“We are also tak­ing 50 re­us­able men­strual kits sewn by Wangaratta and Myrtle­ford women to dis­trib­ute with ‘Mother and Baby Bags’.

“These en­cour­age women to go to the med­i­cal cen­tres to give birth.

“Most of this year’s do­na­tions, how­ever, will be shipped shortly to co­in­cide with a sec­ond Friends of La­cluta visit in late Au­gust.”

Ms Jones, who is a kinder­garten teacher, said she loved spend­ing time in kinder­gartens and men­tor- ing teach­ers in main­tain­ing and us­ing equip­ment in mul­ti­ple ways - re­sources teach­ers them­selves had never seen or used in their own ed­u­ca­tion.

“It’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant as the Ti­mor Leste govern­ment seeks to build pre-school into its ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem,” she said.

The lat­est trip will also see Ru­ral City of Wangaratta man­ager of com­mu­nity and re­cre­ation Mar­cus Fos­ter mak­ing the jour­ney.

It will be the first time a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the coun­cil has ven­tured to La­cluta since the friend­ship agree­ment was for­mally signed be­tween the ru­ral city and La­cluta in 2005.

While Mr Fos­ter is fund­ing his own trip, the visit will help in­form his role in sup­port­ing the Friends of La­cluta com­mit­tee.

Any­one in­ter­ested in sup­port­ing the work of Friends of La­cluta can visit www.friend­sofla­cluta.org.

NOM­I­NA­TIONS are now open for the 2018 Vic­to­rian Se­nior of the Year awards.

The awards cel­e­brate older Vic­to­ri­ans who sup­port and in­spire oth­ers through their vol­un­teer work, hon­our­ing the time, skills and sup­port older Vic­to­ri­ans have given to the com­mu­nity since turn­ing 60.

They also recog­nise busi­nesses that cre­ate age-friendly en­vi­ron­ments.

Award cat­e­gories high­light the role of se­niors as men­tors, ed­u­ca­tors, role mod­els, lead­ers and be­hind the scenes work­ers, with in­di­vid­ual awards in­clud­ing the Premier’s Award for Vic­to­rian Se­nior of the Year, Pro­mo­tion of Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism Award Healthy and Ac­tive Liv­ing Award, Vet­eran Com­mu­nity Award and Vic­to­rian Se­nior Achiever Awards.

In re­cent years, older mem­bers of the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity have been un­der-rep­re­sented in the nom­i­na­tion process and or­gan­is­ers are ac­tively seek­ing nom­i­na­tions of Abo­rig­i­nal Vic­to­ri­ans aged 55 and older for the awards.

Each nom­i­nee re­ceives a cer­tifi­cate ac­knowl­edg­ing their con­tri­bu­tion, and award re­cip­i­ents will be hon­oured at Govern­ment House at the 36th Vic­to­rian Se­niors Fes­ti­val in Oc­to­ber.

To down­load a nom­i­na­tion form and for more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.se­nior­son­line.vic. gov.au/fes­ti­val­san­dawards with nom­i­na­tions clos­ing on Fri­day, July 20.

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