As part of the activities at the Child and Community Centre we support in Viqueque, East Timor, Children on the Edge have been running play schemes with volunteers from The Body Shop staff since 2003. This year’s play scheme was another amazing trip for our seven fantastic volunteers from across The Body Shop Asia Pacific region.
On the first day the volunteers were greeted with a dance performance by the young girls who used to attend our morning Kindergarten. This was followed by a meeting with Padre Divo who is now the custodian of the project in Viqueque as we transition out of Timor.
Central to all of our programmes is a commitment to adapt and alter what we provide as the needs of the children evolve. Part of this is reflected in our principle of investing in the local communities until a time where they are able to own and implement the projects for themselves. We are delighted that the Centre here in Viqueque is now entirely locally managed and receives funding from the local education department.
Children on the Edge will be supporting them to ensure a smooth transition until February 2013. Our director, Rachel Bentley said of the Centre's move towards independence; "I am inspired and encouraged by how well the local community are taking on the ownership of this project in Viqueque. It's success is that it no longer needs our full support but we will remain in touch with the friends we have made in the community and look forward to watching the work flourish in the coming years."
Later in the week the play scheme volunteers joined High School students from St. Stevens School on their annual environmental outing in Loihuno village where stories were shared with the children about the natural environment in our respective countries. Activities were also organised for three primary schools in town and the centre received a new playground set thanks to The Body Shop Australia.
All of this was in addition to daily arts, crafts and outdoor activities for the more than 200 children that arrived at the centre every afternoon. They got stuck in to mask making, painting, bracelet making, origami, badminton, skipping, football, photography lessons for the older children and a 'toothbrushing' hygiene class with the kindergarten.
Our Asia Pacific Consultant, Jo-anne Aeria said "Once again we feel truly privileged to be a part of the community of Viqueque after all these years and everyone who visits always leaves with a special piece of Timor in their hearts."
Find out more about our current support of the Child and Community Centre in East TImor and donate to our work.