Villages in the hills of East Timor are prone to landslides and flooding, and they’re also one of the hardest areas to access, making recovery a slow and lengthy process.
Spring water is the main water source for four communities living in the mountains, but keeping the water free from contamination and transporting it to the villages is challenging, with community members spending hours a day carrying water.
Red Cross, with support from the Friends of Manatuto program, have restored two of the four villages with proper facilities to access the stream, water filtration and toilet facilities. Additional Grant recipient, James Millis from Edithvale, Victoria is putting the money towards finishing the project, which will begin this month.
Here’s what James has to say about his project in East Timor.
Why did you choose this particular project?
I found out about Friends of Manatuto through family friends and heard that they needed support to complete the three-year project. The Reece Grant came at the perfect time for me to get involved.
What will the money go towards?
There are enough funds to finish restoring the third village, and begin the fourth in six months. The money is going towards tools and equipment to test the water, install proper water transport facilities and construct toilet facilities.
How do you ensure long-term change?
An important part of the job is actually teaching the community to be self-sufficient and run the water sanitation and transportation systems themselves, rather than us do it for them. That way, when we leave, the community will know how to fix problems when they arise and can pass their knowledge down to the younger generation.
What part of the project are you most excited about?
Making a difference by helping out a community that would otherwise be totally overlooked. It’s one of those places that don’t receive enough funding or support, so it’s nice to be able to help make a lasting change.
What is your plan for the future?
Once this project is underway, I’ll be looking to dedicate a week per year to supporting underprivileged areas using my plumbing skills. Realising how many people you can help with such little effort is a huge eye opener.