Our Generation’s Challenge

 It’s 8 days until I leave for The Oaktree Foundation’s Our Generation Challenge trip to East Timor!

Every year, Oaktree takes 10 volunteers from around Australia on the ‘Our Generation’s Challenge’ trip to one of its project countries. This year we’re heading to East Timor to see the work we’re now finishing with Plan’s Youth Livelihoods Project, and also meeting with our new project, Ba Futuru’s peace building program.

 Oaktree has been involved in East Timor since 2008, committing $180, 000 to the Youth Livelihoods Project over three years, “ensuring that East Timorese Youth have the ability to generate their own income and participate actively in their respective communities.  By supporting approximately 200 young people aged 16-30 from 10 varying communities in Aileu, Oaktree and Plan assist young people in initiating new income generation activities with equal gender representation. 20-25 groups of 8-10 people are selected based on their proposal ideas submitted as a group application as well as citing experience and skills they have previously attained. Groups will also need to be willing to contribute a set monetary percentage towards their project so as to counter against dependency and ensure participants are committed.”

Our new project with Ba Futuru, launched in February 2011, will provide 600 ‘at-risk’ youth in four communities around Dili with conflict mitigation skills, including personal development and confidence building, and human rights education, using Ba Futuru’s Transformative Arts and Human Rights Education (TAHRE) curriculum. Upon completing the program, the beneficiaries will hold the desire, and indeed have ability, to prevent and resolve violence using peaceful and nonviolent means.

With an impending election in 2012, East Timor cannot afford a repeat of the violence between 2006-2007 which displaced approximately 300,000 East Timorese.

Over the next week before I head off on the trip I’ll be posting various topical blogs about East Timor, so we can share in this educative experience about this little known nation!

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