Novel Da Paz School

Surprises are always welcomed by the Container Project, and this week has begun nicely. Apart from a new story to tell with pictures from Peter, we’ve had some donations to help move Container 30 off site and on board ship to Dili. It’s always a long and challenging road to raise the funds required and we’re not quite there yet.

Thank you to Elaine whose encouragement has prompted a generous donation from Nedlands Mayor and Council. Thank you all so much!

And thank you to lovely Rosa, a long time supporter, for yet another donation, and for the many beautiful rugs she crafts for new babies in Timor.

Scruff waits for Tom to throw the ball
Tom brings his tonner filled with donated goods for Timor each week

And special thanks to Tom, who has been previously misnamed ‘Bob’ for which he deserves many apologies. Tom and Scruff.eDog arrive most Saturdays with a ute load of boxes that this week included lots of Lego that the kids in a Timorese school are going to love. There were also clothes, kitchen utensils and school consumables that will be a wonderful help. Thanks so much Tom, you always bring great stuff.

Thanks to Lorenzo for computer keyboards and modems – they’ll be put to good use. And a sweet lady from Malaysia also left donations, and said she too attended a Canossa school in Malaysia and was pleased to read about the one in Timor we featured recently.

The School Admin Office
The School Canteen
New tables and chairs in the Canteen
Loading up from Peter’s Container Warehouse
Students pack the truck with donations for Novel Da Paz School

This week’s story from Peter in Timor is about the Novel Da Paz School. The school was started by the Director who sold two family vehicles to build the basic structure. The School has over 1800 boys and girls with early morning classes for the lower grades and afternoon classes for seniors to year 7. They cropped-Rotary-logo.pnghaven’t been able to get much support locally.

There are no doors on any of the rooms at the school and there is only weldmesh in place of glass in the windows.  Local pigs and other animals wander through the rooms after school hours due to the lack of doors and gates.

Peter is planning to install two cattle grate style ramps at each walkway into the school as a temporary measure to keep the animals outside the rooms.

From the last Container we shipped to Dili, Peter was able to supply the school with about 20 boxes of stationery, 6 teacher desks and chairs, and some tables for the canteen.

The pictures (left) are of the Administration Office at the school, their school canteen and school students loading up donated desks, tables and chairs at the warehouse in Dili.

I hope some of you reading this blog will recognise some of these donations and be assured of the real difference they make. Thanks again for your help.

The usual packing crew were at Kent St in force on Saturday – 9am to 12pm. Marg was treated to a birthday cake & eclairs & singing! Phil & John are headed to Yarloop again this week to remove more burnt fencing. The farmer they are helping has now rebuilt his boundary fence but the burnt internal fencing will still entangle cattle so they must remain on agistment.

Ida’s Story

It’s so much more meaningful to put a name to a face – so here is the story of Ida who helps Peter unload and sort Containers that arrive in Dili.

Ida also organised delivery of linen and clothing to orphanages in Oecusse for Peter before Xmas.

(Oecusse [in red] is a coastal exclave in the western part of the island of Timor, separated from the rest of East Timor by Indonesian West Timor and bordered by the Savu Sea. 2000px-East_Timor_Oecussi-Ambeno_locator_map.svgIndonesian forces invaded Oecusse in 1975. Like much of the country, it suffered violent attacks near the 1999 Referendum for Independence. Over 90 percent of its infrastructure was destroyed. It became part of the Independent State of East Timor in 2002.)


Ida with 3 of her 5 children outside their home in Dili

“Ida lives in a small house in Dili about 500 metres from Dili’s main Westfield International shopping complex. She is always ready to help sort out the container goods for the various receiver groups when each container arrives.

The receiver groups find it much easier to request items through Ida than to approach me (Peter) as they can quietly find out if they are asking too much from us.

The street in which Ida lives is neat and tidy – 44 gallon drums have been flattened to make fencing

Ida is married to husband, Antonio, who works on construction in Los Palos, 200 kilometres from Dili, 6 days per week. His wage is $12.50 per day with meals supplied and accommodation. Today was a bowl of rice and a piece of fresh coconut.

They have 5 children aged from 18 months to 11 years. The family have electricity connected at their house which is used for 3 lights. Their income doesn’t allow for owning any vehicle or motorbike.

IDA HOUSE BETO 3Through the container project we have helped Ida and her family with clothing for the children, some household furniture, and bicycles for the older children to ride to the shops and go to school.

Pictures are of Ida and some of the kids inside their kitchen with the wood-fired cooking facilities, and they also show some of the neighbouring street homes.” IDA HOUSE BETO 2

BETO STREET 1Peter says “As you travel out into the districts, a much larger percentage of homes are at this standard or below. Some areas of Dili are quite affluent, but a high number are like this.          Curtain material often becomes the screen between rooms rather than decorating windows! Many things get put to alternate uses.

Flower pots of about 150 mm diameter and above have been requested for setting up plant nurseries. (Pots washed clean, and no Red Back Spiders, thank you!)

Please say hi to everyone for me” – Peter.


It was a lively morning at Kent St on Saturday, with the packing crew in good spirits in spite of the 35 degree heat. We pack on tables out in the open, under some very shady gum trees. Dave was there first, followed by Phil & Marg, then Doug, Marg, John & Marielle – and a few Red-tailed Black Cockatoos. Bob arrived, as he often does, with a ute-load of boxes of all sorts of good things – clothing, school books, teacher resources – thanks, Bob. Lesley, Marg & Phil, & Marielle also arrived with boxes of goods. We packed and stacked at a great rate, & it’s now possible to navigate inside the working Container. Lilia and Isabel arrived just as we were finishing up. Everyone was very pleased to hear news from Peter, and they all send their “Hi’s” back.IMG_1366


Peter: Life Basics Timor Style

A Timorese classroom with the most basic of furniture.

Can you imagine the children you know reaching their potential in a classroom like this? It would be a pretty tough call! That’s why the desks and chairs Bentley-Curtin Rotary Club send from schools like Kensington and Kenwick are so important to Timor Leste. It’s why we value and seek out the children’s storybooks and school text books, teacher resource materials, laptop computers, school uniforms from schools like Applecross and Como, bookcases, filing cabinets and teacher’s tables.

Rugged, mountainous country in Timor and housing with electricity poles connecting to most dwellings

Peter sent these photos and comments from Timor recently.

“In the districts the homes are very spaced out so if they need water, they all walk to the spring or a Govt pipe outlet if available. Most have electricity but can only afford one or two lights, and don’t have any appliances for cooking etc.

This year the November rains haven’t kicked in so most rivers are still dry and many areas are seeing their crop plantations dying off. The idea of home gardens, even in Dili, doesn’t seem to exist so food prices are going to hit hard for most on low incomes.

Incomes range from $115.00 US per month to about $300.00 for general workers to Police and security personnel.”

Power poles connecting homes to electricity in the Timor countryside

The Bentley-Curtin packing crew are looking forward to Container 29 leaving Kent St soon. It will take about 6 weeks to reach Dili where Peter will supervise  distribution of all the donated goods. I remember there are a couple of dentist’s chairs in there, and also an organ (musical), along with more school furniture, clothing, classroom text and library books, and much more – all packed to the roof with not an inch of space left.

Canossa School’s New ‘Container’ Library

It’s news like the conversion of a shipping container into a school library that inspires everyone to keep working on projects like this.

Container 25: Conversion to SchoolLibrary begins
Container 25: conversion to Kindegarten Library begins

A combination of funding from Rotary Club Scarborough and the Canossa School area has enabled the conversion to begin. Peter drew up the plans and is overseeing the work, with school support staff supplying labour.

The total roof area is 21 metres long and 7 metres wide, and includes a 3 metre wide veranda. The roof covers the 12 metre container and also an original 6 metre container, creating an administration office.

Container 25: Canossa School Library and Reading Room, and Admin Office

The initial quote for refurbishment was $11,500 but Peter’s revised plan came in at $8,500. Exchange rates are creating a greater shortfall in AUS. dollars which is very frustrating, and the work to complete the project will have to be done as funds now come to hand.

Peter has already tagged much of the interior fit-out items required but will advise what else is needed.

Container 25: completing new doors and windows
Container 25: Completing new doors and windows

Using Container 25 as the building base, construction is 40% less cost than a conventional building 3 metres x 4 metres as originally quoted by a local company.

Paperwork for Container 29 is currently being processed and it should soon leave Kent St en route to Dili. Container 30 is three quarters full. Peter will purchase Container 31 himself.

Peter advises, “We need to keep in mind our project has a strong focus on the remote areas and disadvantaged communities in Timor Leste, so what we may regard as low value items has high significance in these areas. Teachers and medical staff use our bicycles, stroke victims and disabled are now using our walker frames, and the frail and leprosy sufferers now have our linen and clothing. Keep it all flowing, and if it’s not required I will soon let you know. Keep up the great work guys!”

Three shipping containers now act as a ‘distribution warehouse’ in Dili.

The third container is now in place forming a ‘distribution warehouse’ in Dili, inside a fenced compound where new containers from Kent St can be unloaded, sorted and distributed in an orderly and efficient fashion.


Dave & Barney debate how best to re-organise Container 30

This week at Kent St it was great to welcome back Marg, Marielle, Lesley, Marg, Doug, Mike, Phil, John, Dave, Barney and Gerry. We were rained out early on, but spent some productive time discussing the project and the re-organising of Container 30. Goods came in from Applecross Primary School and two private donors who left an office desk, filing cabinet, clothing, children’s books and toys. Marielle’s car was packed to the roof again with boxes of donations. Many thanks to you all.


Approaching the devastated town of Yarloop

Phil, John and Doug traveled to Yarloop bright and early (well, it was early!) on Sunday to help roll up fencing lost in the fires. Insurance does not cover its removal, and there’s hundreds of kms of it to go. About 120 helpers worked through Saturday, and another 60 on Sunday. The intensity of the fire was sobering, and our guys found the sights pretty bleak. It was a long day, but they were very pleased to have been able to help. Well done, fellas!

Removing burnt fencing on a farm near Yarloop

BACK TO WORK! Saturday January 30: 9am to 12pm

Well, Princess Spooky Possum has ‘chilled’ during the holiday break and is looking forward to road testing more prams, taking on the arduous role of project mascot, and forcing herself to eat all the snacks Dave offers.

The packing crew begin this year’s work next Saturday, and it will be nice to see familiar faces again, and welcome some new ones like Peter H from Scarborough.

Bentley-Curtin Club President Doug has been busy with help from John, Phil and Dave, and I think a couple more whose names I don’t yet have – but thanks to you all. The red container has been cleared out a little and re-organised to accommodate more donations: school furniture from Kenwick and Kensington Schools, office furniture from ANZ Bank Kewdale and library tables from Perth City Library. The shed has been cleared of bikes by Bicycles for Humanity.

Fundraising over Christmas and New Year has lifted the dollar tally to almost cover freight for the green container. Well done everyone who helped get that together – a great effort. And ‘thumbs up’ to you all from our Canadian friend and visitor, Suzanne, whom some of you met last November.

Doug’s recent email to club members and packing crew expressed his appreciation for everyone’s efforts throughout last year – both onsite at Kent St, and at the many fundraisers. Doug noted that funding the container freight remains the major challenge, and that this has been compounded “by a 30% increase in costs due to $US vs $A ($US700=$A1000) and increasing competition for the charitable dollar”. “NGOs and philanthropic agents such as ours with international projects need to work 30% harder to raise funds in a weakening economy”.

Doug also sent the following link to the East Timor “Guide Post Magazine” – web address:

This details East Timor’s news, business and travel info. Doug reminds everyone that, “…East Timor is moving forward – its needs are not the same as a few years ago and we should be continually reassessing and re-inventing ourselves, our activities and focus to be relevant and effective”.

In a diversion from the container packing, Doug, John and Phil are headed south next Sunday to help remove burnt out fences around the Yarloop area with members of the Pinjarra Rotary Club. They’re meeting at McLartys Boar Swamp, Lot 13 Boar Swamp Rd, Blythewood at 8am.

Please RSVP by 28th January 2016 to Willie Brown 08 9530 3532 or 0429 174 733 or Geoff McLarty  08 9531 1215 or 0417 994 165 if you can assist. Bring strong gloves, a big hat, sunscreen, lunch, water (lots) and wire cutters (if possible).

Peter: News from Dili

Walking frames, school desks and chairs, boxes of office supplies, childrens books and clothing ready for distribution to Bario Pite Clinc

The last two 12 metre long shipping containers packed by the fabulous crew at Kent St in WA have been distributed to:

  • Kids Ark School in Hera: supported by Geraldton Rotary Club
  • Canossa Primary School in Dili: Sister Domingas

    Bags of clothing, childrens books, office supplies and furniture waiting for transport to Timor villages
  • 3 schools in Maubisse district
  • IMG_20160116_153157159
    Timorese children give the thumbs up to their new school shirts

    Maubisse Hospital

  • Sister Lourdes (also in Maubisse) operating a medical clinic and  “meals on wheels” – horseback, pedal power or foot power!! for the disabled, and the leprosy sufferers
  • Maubara orphanage

    Delivering donated goods to remote rural villages in Timor
  • Halicuo orphanage
  • plus community support groups in Saui, Occusse, Malianna and Ermera
Delivery from Dili to Bario Pite Clinic by dump truck

The 42 pushbikes in the last container were in high demand by everyone and went out all over the country.

Clothing and linen are also a high demand for communities in the mountains and for the clinics.

It often takes several days for remote schools, hospitals and orphanages  to organise transport and funding to travel the rough roads in to the capital,  Dili, from these remote areas to collect goods.

Peter now has 3 shipping containers in place for a ‘warehouse’ plan. This will allow groups to come in one at a time to load up donated goods from each newly arrived container. Having the goods organised into one pile means loading takes only about half an hour to complete.


Timor children celebrate Christmas too – and there will be hundreds of happy faces this year in Timor orphanages. Marielle and her family and helpers collected and wrapped over 1,000 Christmas gifts for these children and also their carers – and she has begun next year’s mission already. Quite amazing!

The shipping container  with these gifts arrived in Dili several weeks ago, and although there were some delays with its release from the port, we’re sure those many gifts reached the children on time.

Finding sufficient funds for freight is always a challenge, and club members work very hard throughout the year. They readily accept cash and donations, hold sausage sizzles and high teas, organised a Soccer Carnival and a Long Table Lunch, and this year have planned a New Year’s Eve Bash.

It’s a family affair – from 3pm to 9pm – to welcome in the New Year and hopefully fund the next container to Timor – which is packed up waiting to go. Please spread the word and support a great evening.




If anyone doubts the worth of the Containers for Timor Project, the pics this week from Peter in Dili, are totally convincing! The first is of Timor students in their classroom – a very bare classroom – with the children sitting on the concrete floor because that is all there is – but they are working at their lessons as usual. (please excuse the picture quality)

Timor school classroom - no desks or chairs

Timor school classroom – no desks or chairs

During the past three years, the Bentley-Curtin Club project has sent over 12,000 (yes, more than twelve thousand) school desks and chairs to Timor schools like this one.

Timor children unloading their new desks

Timor students unloading their new desks

These children are helping to carry their new desks from the delivery truck to their classroom – the first desks and chairs they have ever used at their school. THANK YOU to those Perth schools who are recycling their furniture to places like Timor, and not sending them to landfill sites – it makes a big difference both there and here.

Timor children setting up their new desks

Timor children setting up their new desks

Now the classroom is looking more like those we know – that are so familiar to us, we take them for granted. For these children, they now have a place to sit, write and study, and even store their workbooks, papers and pens. These children are Timor’s future.


Saturday was our last packing day for this year (back on Jan 30, 2016) – with the Margs, Marielle, Lesley, John, Phil, Dave, Mike and Gerry. Doug’s train from Adelaide was behind schedule so he phoned in to express his thanks and good wishes to all the crew who have supported the project this year. 

PUG road tested another pram for Timor.

More donated goods were delivered, and we had a busy time packing lots of tiny baby clothes, bags of adult clothes and shoes, childrens toys, teacher resources, office supplies, boxes of first aid and medical equipment, and quite a few boxes of school dictionaries.

Special thanks this week to Andrew from ASB Marketing for 28 boxes of new T-shirts, Polo shirts, bags & pens – delivered in a trailer by Marielle, whose house is finally emptying out.

Thanks also to Megan for lots of wonderful teaching resource materials.







Packing crew numbers at Kent St SHS this Saturday were small – but it’s quality that counts, right? A nice warm change in weather from last week when we were rained out and soaked to the skin.

Thanks: Dave, John, Phil, Mike, the Margs & Lesley. Thanks: John & Phil for the pickup of 35 tables during last week & Dave for prams & 40 bags of clothes.

This week our thanks for donations go to: Challenger Tafe, Donna from 100 Women, Kent St SHS, Harold Hawthorne Community Centre, Miriam & Sarah, & Hertz Truck Rentals.

Goods packed & stacked this week included office files & stationery, beautiful hand crochet baby blankets, baby clothes, kitchen ware, shoes, young guys snappy designer clothes, pens, pencils & crayons for school children, sewing fabrics, curtains, bed linen, an electric kettle & computer monitor screens.

Pram from a roadside pickup – now cleaned up, road tested by the PUG – and en route to Dili.

Container No.28 has arrived in Dili, No.29 is waiting for freight funding, No.30 is half full already!

Two beautiful Christmas teddy bears were kept aside for Luzia’s upcoming fundraiser – ‘TEDDYS FOR TIMOR’.

Next Saturday is our last for the year, and after a little work, we’re treating ourselves to a small Christmas party sausage sizzle at 11:00am. All our contributing Friends of Timor Leste are invited. Club President, Doug might be back from Canberra in time to join us too.

Today’s crew agreed unanimously to break over Christmas, New Year and January – but we’ll be back in action on Saturday, January 30.

Remember: BOXING DAY SAUSAGE SIZZLE @ BUNNINGS BELMONT – volunteers to help are welcome!

Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays. Stay safe and we’ll see you all in the New Year.