Mahjong group sup­ports a mid­wife in East Ti­mor

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

MAHJONG is alive and well in Mans­field.

Ev­ery Thurs­day a group of women meets at The Deck on High in Mans­field to play this en­tic­ing Chi­nese game.

In fact mahjong was banned in China from the time the com­mu­nists took power un­til well af­ter the end of the Cul­tural Revo­lu­tion.

It cer­tainly hasn’t stopped The Deck Hands from en­joy­ing this com­pet­i­tive but fun pas­time.

When the group heard that Anne and David Fos­ter were go­ing to Mans­field’s friend­ship town of Ve­ni­lale in East Ti­mor to do vol­un­teer English teach­ing for two months in 2013, they de­cided to sup­port one of Friends of Ve­ni­lale’s projects there.

Af­ter learn­ing about the schol­ar­ship pro­gram for sec­ondary, univer­sity and trade stu­dents, they chose to fundraise for the mid­wife schol­ar­ship.

Over a pe­riod of eight months the group mem­bers put in their spare small change each week un­til the tar­get of $530 was reached.

The schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ent is Je­suinha Guterres, a ma­ture age stu­dent, who is pres- ently work­ing at Ve­ni­lale’s new ma­ter­nity cen­tre.

Her part time stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Dili will al­low her to be­come fully qual­i­fied in mid­wifery and so help to­wards re­duc­ing East Ti­mor’s high in­fant mor­tal­ity rate.

The mahjong group pre­sented the funds to Ge­orgina Sarmento, vis­it­ing Mans­field to im­prove her skills in English, IT and ac­count­ing as spon­sored by Friends of Ve­ni­lale.

Ge­orgina is FoV’s project of­fi­cer in Ve­ni­lale, co­or­di­nat­ing ini­tia­tives in ed­u­ca­tion, tourism and women’s craft co-op­er­a­tives.

A lit­tle goes a long way in East Ti­mor and the mahjong group can be com­mended for their fundrais­ing re­solve to im­prove the health sit­u­a­tion there.

Friends of Ve­ni­lale hopes that other Mans­field groups could also be in­spired to help the people of our friend­ship town.

An­nual scholarshi­ps for ju­nior sec­ondary stu­dents are $100, it’s $120 for a se­nior sec­ondary stu­dent and $240 for most univer­sity scholarshi­ps.

Health scholarshi­ps are the most ex­pen­sive at $530.

HELP­ING OUT: Mem­bers of The Deck Hands (Mahjong) (from left) Pat Martin, Ge­orgina Sar­mento, He­len Hunt, Irene Rice, Josie Bre­laz, Julie War­ren and Anne Fos­ter take a break from mahjong at The Deck to of­fer as­sis­tance for a schol­ar­ship in East Ti­mor.

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