The past year has proved a challenge to all those in education, but for many young people in Timor-Leste, the financial burden of secondary school fees, in addition to the disruption caused by the pandemic, means they have been particularly vulnerable to dropping out of education. Thankfully, despite the uncertain times, the Carmelites of Australia and Timor-Leste have been able to continue to run the successful scholarship program for women and girls. This project specifically supports young East Timorese women who come from disadvantaged families. Without access to these scholarships, these hardworking students would not be able to gain a higher education.

The final three years of secondary school are the most expensive for East Timorese families, therefore this is the most likely time that students will drop out of school due to financial hardship. Despite the challenging year, two students, Deolinda and Esmeralda, completed a full year of senior secondary school and will continue their study in 2022.

Carmelites were also able to support eight young East Timorese women to complete a further year of study in a university level degree in 2021: Zelia – 2nd year, Diploma of Nursing; Eliza – 4th year, Bachelor of Tour & Travel Management; Reinha – 4th year, Bachelor of Public Health; Delfina –2nd year, Diploma of Nursing; Flavia – 2nd year, Diploma of Nursing; Judith – 2nd year, Bachelor of Economic Management and Sofia – 2nd year, Bachelor of Nutrition. A senior student, Eliza, has begun work on her final thesis and is due to graduate in May 2022.

We congratulate all these young women who received excellent academic results during a year of significant challenges and periods of extended distance learning. 

To help ensure projects such as the Carmelite Scholarship Programme can continue, please follow this link to make a regular or one-off donation

Photos: Reinha (left) who is studying Nursing and, Judith (right) who is studying Economic Management.