Befriend a community

Spread the love

There are many ways you can establish a relationship with a community in East Timor. Below is a small selection of case studies for inspiration. Please contact us via the form under Who We Are if you would like your community featured here.

Blue Mountains NSW and Hato Builico

In November 2007, the Blue Mountains partnered with Hato Builico, one of the four Sub-Districts of Ainaro District. It is located inland on the slopes of Mount Ramelau, southwest of Dili.

The Friendship Committee is committed to working in the areas of community centre refurbishment, sustainable economic development, health and wellbeing, education and training.

The Friendship Committee also works in collaboration with other organisations of the Blue Mountains working in East Timor including:

  • The Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters: a volunteer group of women who raise funds for projects in East Timor under the guidance of East Timorese women. For further information please contact: or view:
  • The Springwood East Timor Support Group

The Friendship Committee meets once a month – to find out more please contact

Image: Signing the Friendship Agreement on 30 November 2007.

Darebin & Yarra VIC and Baucau

The Friends of Baucau is a community initiative run by Darebin and Yarra councils in Melbourne, which works with the people of Baucau in East Timor to assist them with rebuilding their community following independence.

A recent project was the opening of the Baucau Buka Hatene (Friendship and Learning Centre) in June 2004. The centre delivers programs and services including a language program, a youth program, a women’s resource room, small business support and a computer program.

Fundraising work is pivotal for the work of Friends of Baucau. The group hosts numerous events and holds many stalls, at which they sell coffee, tais, chocolate crocodiles and salt, with all funds raised used to assist communities in Baucau.

Visit the Friends of Baucau to learn more.

Image: District Administrator of Baucau Marito Reis and former Mayor of Yarra Sue Corby sign the Friendship Agreement.

Manly NSW and Oecusse

In July 2008, as part of East Timor President José Ramos-Horta’s visit to Sydney, Manly Council entered into a formal Friendship Agreement with the district of Oecusse in East Timor.

As part of the agreement, Manly Council sponsors the Youth in Action Green Games by providing sporting equipment, trophies, and transportation for the event as well as paying for the remediation of the sportsgrounds and for local referees to oversee the games. More than one quarter of the population of Oecusse turn out to watch the games.

The Mayor of Manly, Councillor Jean Hay said it was logical for Manly Council to get involved with the competition. “Here in Manly we are very proud of our sporting traditions. The Green Games in Oecusse provided us with an opportunity to extend the hand of friendship but to also encourage young people to get active and get involved with this great community event.”

Members of the community have since formed a support group to strengthen the friendship and keep it active. Visit the Manly Friends of Oecusse East Timor Community Support Group.

Image: President José Ramos-Horta and former Manly Mayor Peter MacDonald sign the Friendship City agreement.

Moreland VIC and Aileu

Moreland and Hume City Councils set up a friendship city relationship with Aileu in East Timor in 2000.

In 2007-2008, Friends of Aileu provided 21 tertiary scholarships to students in Aileu. Ten secondary scholarships are also made available each year for students attending junior secondary school who wish to proceed to senior high school, but whose parents are too poor to pay for their education.

The Councils’ citizens’ service centres sell East Timor coffee for $6.50 for a 250 gram pack, with all proceeds going to the community of Aileu.

Friends of Aileu is also supporting the Aileu Resource and Training Centre, providing funds for the renovation and equipping of the Centre, including provsion of an Internet connection. It has also agreed to support the development of an English language training program at the Centre.

Visit the Friends of Aileu to learn more.

Image: A display at Moreland City Council.