Our Volunteers: Jack Dos Santos volunteering in Timor-Leste

Catholic Teachers’ College, Timor-Leste

Former Palms volunteers at CTC Baucau, Colin and Christina
With a 59% literacy rate in a country of 1.1 million people, the young Republic of Timor-Leste is working hard to redevelop and improve its education system. Under the often violent occupation, at the peak of the conflict for independence, nearly 80% of its teachers who were part of the Indonesian education system left, and over 90% of its education infrastructure was destroyed.

In 2000, East Timor was without a secondary education system and most of the country’s 140 secondary schools lay in ruins. Higher education in East Timor had effectively stopped, according to UNICEF. But much has begun to change, and its education infrastructure and curriculum is beginning to take shape.

The Catholic Teachers’ College, Baucau was established in 2000 at the invitation of Bishop Basilio Nascimento to train teachers to serve this 98% Catholic country. It operates as an outreach of the Melbourne province of the Marist Brothers, who have made a 10-year commitment to the College.

Catholic Teachers’ College, with the people of East Timor, is working to develop quality professional teachers in the context of the Catholic faith and the culture of Timor-Leste. It is committed to advancing a quality East Timorese curriculum and a culture of leadership in the country.

The Director of Catholic Teachers’ College, Baucau has identified a need for a skilled volunteer to assist in financial monitoring and the capacity building of staff in the areas of Maintenance, Transport and Security. They placed a request with Palms Australia for a volunteer Business Manager.

Jack Dos Santos

jackPalms Australia recruited Joaquim Dos Santos (a.k.a. Jack), a Senior Contract Officer from Melbourne, to work at Baucau, Timor Leste for two years. He will work closely with local staff, sharing skills and expertise and contributing to long-term sustainable development.

Jack has many years of experience in Contract Management and Inventory & Supply Management; Jack had also served over a period of 2 decades in the Australian Army Reserve.

Jack is also a keen cartoonist and speaks Portuguese and Cantonese. With his variety of gifts he will contribute to the Education infrastructure of East Timor and transfer skills to the partner community.

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Population: 1,292,755

Area: 15,007 sq. km.

Median Age: 21.5

Literacy: 58.6 %

Languages: Tetum, Portuguese, Indonesian, about 16 indigenous languages

A brief history of independence. mid 1500s – Timor colonised by Portugal 1859 – Portugal cedes West Timor to the Dutch 1942-1945 – Japan occupies East Timor 28 November 1975 – East Timor declared independent from Portugal 7 December 1975 – invaded and occupied by Indonesia. It is estimated that 100,000 to 250,000 were killed […]

More on Timor-Leste

The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress
and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us. - Octavio Paz