Women and girls in developing countries are often denied opportunities for education.
Yet it is one of the most critical areas of development and the single most effective way to improve the lives of individuals and families as well as to contribute to social and economic development.
Timor-Leste is one of the world’s youngest nations with one of the youngest populations: about 54% are under the age of 15. It is also one of the poorest countries with 49% living below the poverty line of $2 per day. This means there is a lot of pressure on schools, school children and education systems.
In 2017, twelve students from St Therese’s Orphanage Maubara, reached Senior High School level. Their hope is to complete three years of senior secondary education at either one of two Secondary Schools in Dili, Paulo V1 or Cristál. Special accommodation is provided by the Carmelite Sisters at their central house in Fatuhada, Dili.
These students have all come from extremely deprived backgrounds. In some cases, both of their parents died leaving them orphaned at an early age. Others were abandoned or have come from situations of extreme poverty, violence or mental illness.
They were placed with the Carmelite Sisters as infants or small children and have lived in their care for many years. They have been cared for and educated through early childhood, primary and pre-secondary years and have now reached Senior Secondary level. Extra resources are needed for them to complete these studies. Some will continue to University while others will take up various forms of employment. All will be well prepared to take their place in their society and make a difference in the development of their nation.