In 2016, ATLAS, with the support of generous donors, launched its program for the Education of girls and young women, in Timor-Leste. ATLAS is keenly aware of the lack of educational opportunities in general in Timor-Leste but particularly for girls and women, with only around 35% having the chance to proceed to Secondary Education.
As there are no Senior Secondary Schools in Maubara the girls from St Therese’s Orphanage, Maubara, who wish to continue to Senior Secondary Education reside in dormitory accommodation located in the grounds of the Carmelite Convent at Fatuhada in order to continue their studies in Dili. ATLAS assisted with partial financing of the dormitory accommodation.
ATLAS responded favourably to a request from the Carmelite Sisters who conduct St Therese’s Orphanage, Maubara, Timor-Leste, for financial support to assist their senior students to attend Secondary Schools. These girls, most of whom have lived at St Therese’s Orphanage since they were small children, have all come from impoverished backgrounds, having been left without parents or family to care for them. Since then, 47 young women have been given the opportunity for secondary education, including fifteen students in 2020 and nine students during 2021.
The students attend either General Secondary Schools (GSE) which aim to prepare students to continue their studies at a tertiary level; or Technical/Vocational Education Schools (STVE) which prepare students for earlier entry into the labour market, with technical and work readiness skills in business such as administration, tourism, and hospitality.
Despite great difficulty, ATLAS is proud, both of our efforts to provide secondary education for these students but also of their efforts to make the most benefit from this opportunity.