St John’s offer a Helping Hand to the Oetapó School in East Timor


This 3 room school was built by the Australian peacekeeping force, which was deployed to East Timor after the vote for independence in 1999. The village had never had a school before, so most of the children had received little, or no, education. Oetapó School is not supported by the Government, and the village children who attend are mostly from families of subsistence farmers who cannot afford to pay fees to provide teachers’ salaries. Through the Mary MacKillop Institute for East Timor (MMIET), St John’s regularly sends money which is put towards the teachers’ salaries and supply of Tetun language books & other educational materials.

The St John’s community has made school trousers, schoolbags and regularly collects money by keeping collection tins at home, where they can pop in coins from day to day. Four times a year, all the coins are collected and sent to MMIET. In addition, fund-raising Casserole Dinners are held and donations are received from choir events and individuals.

This fund-raising, started in 2004, will continue until the School are in a position to support themselves. The School is expanding – as the original children advance and children from other local villages join, additional teachers have been trained for additional classes. A water supply was built to the village in 2007 and a new school building, with another 3 classrooms, was built in 2009. MMIET are currently fund-raising to help with the supply of desks for these new classrooms.

If you would like to help with St John’s fundraising for Oetapó, or find out more please contact