REMOTE villages in Timor Leste now have desks and chairs thanks to the Rotary Club of Bentley Curtin and several schools.
The Containers for Timor Project started in 2011 in association with the WA Teachers Union, Kent Street Senior High School and several Rotary clubs.
Since then, 25 high-capacity 12.2m containers have been delivered to the South-East Asian nation .
Project co-ordinator Peter Snell has been volunteering in Timor Leste with Rotary since 2007.
“I have seen the conditions in the remote villages and have seen the joy on the kids’ faces when they no longer have to sit on the floor in class,” Mr Snell said.
“Donations of bicycles mean they can get to school without walking for two to three hours each way.
“I have seen the students walking to school empty handed until they receive our donations of shoulder bags, exercise books and pens often offered to us by major stationery companies after all the local school book lists have been filled.”
Funding for the containers comes from ongoing sausage sizzles, quiz nights and school fundraisers. So far, more than 12,000 school chairs and thousands of desks and school supplies have been delivered.
“Timor Leste supported Australia during World War II at great cost to the communities who supported and sheltered our troops,” Mr Snell said.
He said though the country was a one-hour flight from Darwin, it had Third World conditions, with extreme poverty and food insecurity.
The containers are loaded at Kent Street, Victoria Park, on Saturday mornings, with the support of several Rotary clubs, Timor Leste support groups and volunteers.