Trip of a lifetime

East Timorese children eager to learn. 165344

By Mandy Oakham

An Ocean Grove mother and daughter are about to embark on a trip of a lifetime together with the goal of helping one of the world’s newest nations to grow.
The two, Nicola Goodwin and her 13-year-old daughter, Serena El-Hage, are off to help young East Timorese improve their learning through the use of musical instruments and they are looking for help.
The two have become passionately involved in the plight of the East Timorese people through their links to Christian College, which regularly sends groups of staff and students to help with building and educational projects in the emerging country.
This trip will focus on getting musical instruments made in country which can then be incorporated in various way into school curriculums.
So all monies raised will be directed towards these educational projects, as Nicola explained that all people travelling from Australia fund their own costs.
“The country is still recovering from the invasion and occupation and there are a lot of mental health issues in the older population,“ Nicola said.
“But the young people over there are just so enthusiastic and wanting to learn and they are always looking to upskill in whatever they can.“
Daughter Serena shares her mother’s passion.
“Over here you take a bunch of flowers if you are visiting people but over there you take a bag of rice, so every $20 we can raise here buys a bag of rice for a family over there,“ she said.
“I did a school project on the Santa Cruz massacre and that had a real effect on me.“
One of the many activities to help young East Timorese that Serena is involved with is helping getting books translated into the local language.
A fund-raiser for the next East Timorese expedition will be held at the Christian College Bellarine campus auditorium in Collins Street, Drysdale, on Sunday 19 March.
Two short films will be shown at the event depicting the life and culture of Timorese people from Atauro Island. Both films are suitable for children.
Afternoon tea (included in the entry), will be available from 2.30pm, and the films will start at 3.15pm. Cost is $10 per adult, $5 per child and $30 for a family. Door prizes will be on offer.
All proceeds from the afternoon will go towards the Timor projects 2017. Local Timorese crafts, greeting cards and 2017 calendars will also be available. For tickets or more information contact Christian College Bellarine campus reception on 5253 2998.
Anybody who would like to help with the funding of East Timorese education projects should contact