East Timor – helping rural communities
Br Dan Courtney struck tragedy recently when his motorbike collided with a truck in the hills of Railaco, East Timor.
Although alive, Br Dan is in intensive care and on a ventilator at Brisbane’s Holy Spirit Hospital. But the work he began goes on.
Br Dan was in East Timor working with Comunidade Edmund Rice (CER), a network he established in East Timor just before the 1999 referendum to work with rural villagers in the Railaco area.
His work continues, carried on by volunteers. Sydney medical student Tim Gray is one such volunteer.
Tim deferred his final year of studies to offer his services to the CER network. Among the projects with which he has been involved are CER efforts in agriculture, education and the provision of clean drinking water.
CER also runs adult literacy classes in Tetum and – by request – English language classes.
But most symbolically, CER has established community centres in the villages of Samalete, Deleso, Taraco, Railaco Leten and Railaco Craic.
Tim says CER is working with villagers to refurbish the centres to create spaces for community meetings and other activities.
“The women want to teach sewing to their children, the youth are looking for sporting opportunities, literacy groups are looking for a meeting space and the centres are an exciting opportunity to promote local craft works that may lead to the generation of much needed income,” he said.
“One group that will particularly benefit from these centres will be the women, who currently have little legitimate space to gather.
“It is envisaged that these centres will enable them to be exposed to a wider experience of life,” Tim added.
But CER’s projects need your help. A fundraising dinner and auction, hosted by Wendy Harmer, will be held at 7pm this Thursday, November 22, at the AJC Convention Centre, Royal Randwick. Up for auction are Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb passes, a seven day holiday at Noosa Blue Resort, Noosa Heads, and an autographed Manchester United soccer jersey.
For more information, call Fr Kevin Burton on 9337 2033.