Women’s Empowerment Program: creating incredible friendships, bonds and memories

Early in 2015 Sacred Heart College Geelong organised a student trip to Timor Leste. In the following report one of the students who participated provides a powerful portrait of how we can work together to build opportunities for all, especially those whose life circumstances are more difficult than our own.

Our Global Partnership experience with CTID Girls College in Baucau, Timor-Leste was unforgettable, enriching, life changing and incredibly eye opening. Although the trip only lasted ten days, everything was planned by Destination Dreaming, SHC and CTID to make sure not one minute was wasted. In the first few days we became used to being in a new country with a different culture. We spent time in Dili where we learnt a lot about the history of East Timor and their tragic past. However along with this we also discovered what an amazing young country East Timor is and gained a lot of respect for the young people who fought for their own country’s independence.

We then travelled along the coast from the capital of Dili, to Baucau, where we were to meet up with the girls we were to be working with at Cannossian College (CTID). It was here that we spent four days working together with the young women at the College who are part of the Women’s Empowerment Program. This program provides the young women with the opportunity to learn skills such a sewing, cooking, technology, office administration and English that will allow them to become self sufficient and support themselves and their family in the future.

Most of us went to East Timor thinking we would be giving more to the girls than they would us, however it was amazing surprising how wrong we were. Our time at the college allowed us to create incredible friendships, bonds and memories with the girls. Despite the language barrier and living completely different lives back home, it was amazing to see how much we had in common with the girls and how much we could learn from them. The ten days went faster than any of us expected and going home definitely involved mixed emotions however there is no doubt that everyone who went on the trip walked away with a new perspective on how we now view and appreciate our families, our education and our lives at home as well as how lucky we are to be born young women in a country such as Australia where we have so many opportunities for our futures.

A huge thanks to Ms Gillett, Mr Ansell and Clint Miller from Destination Dreaming for helping to make this the best experience possible!

Alice C. – Student, Sacred Heart College, Geelong

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