Friends embark on latest trip to support Lacluta
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.