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Mount Alexander Shire’s Timor-Leste [East Timor] Friendship group - Friends of Lolotoe – are committed to supporting the aspirations of the people of the Lolotoe sub-district with the re-building of their communities and responding to opportunities for cultural exchange.

Friends of Lolotoe is proudly supported by the Mount Alexander Shire Council, local partnerships and the wider community.

 About Us
 Friends of Lolotoe Committee
 Community Partnerships and Projects
 How You Can Help
 Contact Us
 Friends of Lolotoe Newsletters
 Debt of Honour Exhibition

About Us
Historical Overview

In 2009, Mount Alexander Shire entered into a ten-year Friendship Relationship Agreement with the sub-district of Lolotoe, Timor Leste. This Agreement honours the values and principles of the Victorian Local Governance Association's (VLGA) guidelines for Australia Timor Leste Friendship Relationships.

In a climate of friendship, and based on mutual support and respect for each other's culture, the Friends of Lolotoe undertakes to support the Lolotoe community to re-build their local democracy through sustainable projects identified by their community in education, health and agriculture and to foster opportunites for cultural exchange.

Friends of Lolotoe is associated with an Incorporated Association and is associated with the VLGA Australia Timor Leste Friendship Groups and the Australia Timor Leste Friendship Network. Australia Timor Leste Friendship Conferences held in Timor Leste strengthen these relationships.

Sub-District of Lolotoe

Lolotoe is a sub-district of Bobonaro, a mountainous region located approximately 180kms south-west from the capital, Dili. The population of 8,000 rely on subsistence farming - coffee, maize, tapioca, vegetables and fruit - for their livelihood. The climate is monsoonal - with August to November being the dry season. Languages include Tetum, Portuguese, Indonesian, the local dialect Bunak, and English. The main community of Opa provides primary and secondary school (Yrs 7-9) education, kindergarten, community library, a small hospital and maternal health clinic, local police and public administration, three retail shops and two home-stay accommodation places. Electricity (generator) operates from 6.15pm - midnight daily. These facilities have to stretch across six other communities.

Friendship Agreement
Click on the hyperlink to see a copy of the Friendship Agreement.

Annual Report 2012/2013
Click on the hyperlink to see a copy of the Friends of Lolotoe Annual Report 2012/2013.

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Timor Leste Crops
Friends of Lolotoe Committee
Mount Alexander Shire Friends of Lolotoe

President: Vacant
Vice President: Paul Perry
Secretary: Denise Jepson
Treasurer: Josie Smyth

Other committee members:
- Catherine Jerome
- Ruth MacLaren
- Made Perry

Ordinary Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 7pm in the Town Hall foyer. All meetings are open to Friends of Lolotoe members and the general public.

Lolotoe Sub-District

In May 2010, the Lolotoe community elected their first committee of six members including representatives for education, health and agriculture.

President: Snr Nicolao Moniz
Secretary: Snr Domingos Silla
Treasurer: Snr Luis Afonsa Barros
Education: Snr Justino Gomes
Health: Snr Antonio da C.Cea
Agriculture: Snr Justino Belo

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Community Partnerships and Projects
Projects for the Lolotoe community focus on sustainability, developing local skills and opportunities for cultural exchange.

All projects are identified by the Lolotoe community and their committee and discussed with representatives of the Friends of Lolotoe committee.

With the support and generosity from the wider community, including community partnerships with Castlemaine Rotary and Castlemaine Secondary College, Friends of Lolotoe are able to fund the following projects. Other supporters include Friends of the Castlemaine Library [FOCL] and local CWA groups.

Construction projects have been undertaken by the local East Timorese people of Lolotoe:

• Library books & Tetum/English dictionaries – Lolotoe community library & Primary school children
• Educational writing materials – Lolotoe Junior Secondary school
• Student accommodation and kitchen upgrades
• Sanitation project – construction of two community toilets
• Scholarship program – supporting students to complete their secondary & tertiary education

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How You Can Help
To find out how you can help click on link to view the brochure.

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Contact Us

Secretary: Denise Jepson
Phone: (03) 5473 4470

Annual membership - $10

Contact: Catherine Jerome
Phone: (03) 5472 4101

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Friends of Lolotoe Newsletters
The East Timor Friendship Group produces a quarterly newsletter. Please click on the below hyperlinks:

2013 June Quarter
2013 March Quarter
2012 December Quarter
2012 September Quarter

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Debt of Honour Exhibition
On 15 April 2011 at Castlemaine’s Historic Market Building, a photographic collection that brings to light a little known story from the Second World War of the day to day camaraderie between a small group of Australian soldiers, known as ‘Sparrow Force’, and the Timorese people will be opened by His Excellency, Abel Guterres, Timor Leste’s Ambassador to Canberra.

Hosted by the Friends of Lolotoe (Timor Leste) Inc. and supported by the Mount Alexander Shire Council, Castlemaine RSL, Harcourt Valley Heritage & Tourist Centre Inc., and the Castlemaine Art Gallery, the Debt of Honour Photographic Collection commemorates Australian soldiers who fought in a guerrilla war against the Japanese army in Portuguese Timor in 1942-3, and pays tribute to the courage, support and friendship given to them by the local Timorese people – a friendship that extended long after the Second World War ended.

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  Debt of Honour Exhibition
  Friends of Lolotoe Brochure
  2012 September Quarter

Timor Leste School
  Annual Report
  Study Tour Report

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