Testimonials

The most drastic change has been the knowledge of the students about Timor Leste, but more significant than this has been the development of passion. It's clear that all of the students have had a fire lit inside them that with no doubt lead them to take action in their home communities.

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Matt Friedman, Leader at UN Youth Australia 2017

Matt's reflected on UNYA's relationship with their partner community and felt there was a genuine two-way exchange between them. On his return, he began to consider other possible community partnerships UNYA could build in the future.

"After this trip, I have learned to appreciate my education and all of the ways in which Australia is rich, but also recognise the ways that Timor Leste is rich as well. The connections I made with the students at Encouragement House and experiencing just how important education is to them has impacted me more than anything else. This was life-changing experience that has helped shaped my future and will forever be something I hold in my heart."

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Maddie Kasnicki, 16 years old, Sacred Heart College 2017

Maddie has since reflected on her school's seven year relationship with Encouragement House and believes that it's a bond that can only get stronger with time. After spending time in Timor Leste, Maddie felt that not only did she feel she could identify her own values and rights, but that she can also respect and value other people's differing perspectives and beliefs.

"Staying at the Encouragement House was one of the most valuable experiences I had in Timor Leste. Our partner community were so generous and welcoming. I realised that the actions of individuals and groups can make a real difference in communities and environments. It's inspired me to believe that we really can make a difference. Seeing people who are motivated to improve the lives and communities of others — not for their own personal gain or to accumulate wealth — has motivated me to reevaluate my lifestyle and goals."

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Andrea Gadon, Teacher at Sacred Heart College 2017

Andrea felt that her school's objective of gaining a deeper understanding of Timor Leste's culture and history was achieved while also allowing her school and students to continue to build a genuine two-way relationship with the community.

"Personally, the change in my perspective towards culture, voluntourism and unity of society has been greatly influenced by this trip. East Timor has been extremely significant to my understanding of sustainable development and re-establishing a developing country. This trip allowed me to be critical of issues affecting such countries and apply my knowledge practically. I have changed the way I perceive voluntary trips, the representation of culture and I can appreciate as well as help solve globally-concerning problems."

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Varsha Krithivasan, 17 years old, UN Youth Australia 2017

After her trip, Varsha hoped to contact her local newspaper, politician and volunteer organisations to continue help make a difference to the lives around her. She felt confident in her own ability to stand up for herself, cross boundaries between cultures and continue to actively give her time to global issues.

"Many of our students have come away with a difference perspective of both the world and their own lives. Several students have had an interest in political activism ignited and have come away with a social awareness and understanding of social capital that they'd never had before. I think the experience of most value during our time in Timor Leste was teaching at Encouragement House and experiencing the lives of those living in Maliana."

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Tom Reale, Teacher at Sacred Heart College 2017

Many of Tom's students returned with a drive to continue the work they began in Timor Leste in their own community, through local media, donations or volunteer organisations. Tom felt that the immersion into Timorese society gave his students the tools to inspire change in others.

"Simply living among the people at Encouragement House gave me something so much more than a superficial understanding of poverty. I feel now that I have a responsibility to the people of East Timor to educate others about their situation and encourage change. I also think that I have changed, ethically and socially, for the better. I have a deeper sense of gratitude for the privileges I have in Australia."

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Thomas Rive, 15 years old, Sacred Heart College 2017

When Thomas reflected on his time in Timor Leste and at Encouragement House, he began to consider the ways in which his school could continue to strengthen their relationship with their partner community. He'd like see more awareness from other students, encourage more fundraising and see Timorese language and culture integrated into his school's curriculum.When Thomas reflected on his time in Timor Leste and at Encouragement House, he began to consider the ways in which his school could continue to strengthen their relationship with their partner community. He'd like see more awareness from other students, encourage more fundraising and see Timorese language and culture integrated into his school's curriculum.

"I think the most significant change for me was just really bringing about awareness as to what life is actually life for people in a developing country, particularly because of Encouragement House, and just how this has really changed my perspective of my own life and the opportunities I have, which I am so grateful for. I also gained really valuable knowledge about careers and future pathways in the international development/relations field which I think will drive me to really aim high in where I want to go in my life."

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Danielle Henwood, UN Youth Australia 2018

Proudly Supported By

  • Global Development Group
  • Encouragement House
  • Destination Dreaming
  • The Encouragement Foundation