Pittwater Friends of Soibada
Friendship Agreement with Soibada, Timor-Leste
Pittwater Council signed a Friendship Agreement with the Timor-Leste community of Soibada in July 2010 in accordance with the guidelines of Timorese Government under the Friendship Movement Act and Statement of Principles for Local Governments Working in Timor-Leste.
The purpose of this agreement was to formalise connections with this community and lay a foundation for projects to be undertaken to support the people of Soibada which will improve not only their daily lives but also create sustainable programs for future development of the community.
After the signing of the Friendship Agreement the community based group Pittwater Friends of Soibada was established to bring together a broad spectrum of committed members of the Pittwater community to create awareness and raise funds to implement identified projects. All projects to be undertaken are determined by both the Soibada Community and the Committee of Pittwater Friends of Soibada. Guidance is also sought from Government and non-Government agencies in Timor-Leste.
The Pittwater Community’s commitment to assisting Timor-Leste began in 1999 when they supported the now chairperson of Pittwater Friends of Soibada, Tamara Sloper-Harding, who deployed with INTERFET. Pittwater Friends of Soibada is also supported by Maria Regina Primary School, the Pittwater Catholic Parish, local churches of all denominations, Rotary, community groups and has since grown to encompass the wider community.
In 2011 a project plan was developed in consultation with the Soibada community. This project plan has three key elements:
- Construction and physical improvements to existing facilities
- Community development and education
- Major construction projects incorporating partnerships with other agencies
Soibada is very remote, and breathtakingly beautiful, high in the mountains in central Timor. It is situated 135 kilometres from the capital, Dili and was originally built by the Portuguese. It has few resources and was devastated by past occupation by Indonesian and militia groups and subsequent turmoil following Independence. There are no bridges to Soibada, so during the rainy season the town is completely cut off. The community have been very proactive yet need support to increase their health, well-being and capacity.
The Pittwater community is helping to provide that support for local projects and to build skills that will contribute to the long term independence and sustainability of the village. It is about the growth of lasting friendship and sustainable development. It is about empowering the people of Soibada to resurrect their own village and their lives.
- Photo Galleries
- Tamara Sloper-Harding, Chairperson, Pittwater Friends of Soibada - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jane Mulroney, Community Engagement Officer, Pittwater Council - 9970 1108