Vitál in the workshop he built

Why is something simple such a great thing? Finding land and building a shed in East Timor is not as simple as going to a real estate to buy land and then down to Bunnings to buy the materials. Vitál de Jesus, a young Timorese man whom ATLAS supports through education and training, has worked tirelessly over the last few months to achieve just that: the relocation of the Wood Work Project from the old location at Mary MacKillop International (MMI) site to our new shed.

Vitál and ATLAS members looked at many options: building a shed on another Religious Order’s land, setting up workshop in a shed rented by another NGO, and purchasing our own land. Vitál then offered to build a shed on his own land. Looking at all the options a shed on Vital’s land just made complete sense.

Work on construction of the shed commenced on Monday 17th May. Vital and his relatives cleared a space beside the house then constructed a rock retaining wall 1.2 m high. Over the following three weeks all steel columns, the roof, walls and concrete floor were constructed by hand. This was a  massive amount of very heavy manual and labour intensive work. The hard work by Vitál and his relatives saved ATLAS thousands of dollars, with the only expenses being $700USD for materials. The woodwork equipment was relocated from MMI on Sunday 5th June to complete the project.

Vitál has now registered a business in Timor-Leste, named ‘Vital Woodwork’. ATLAS is now looking at further training for Vitál and his wife Francisca to develop business skills to operate and grow the woodworking project into a successful business that can train and employ other Timorese people.

ATLAS is very thankful for the help and support of Mary MacKillop International to the woodwork project over many years. ATLAS now look to forming the Woodwork Project into an opportunity for other Timorese people to gain skills and useful employment.

Chris Scharf