It is great to be back on the ground at Klibur Domin after departing in March 2020 and being limited to remote support from Melbourne during the pandemic. As things continue to regrow, already KD has seen a number of new volunteers and visitors from RCA, Rotary and AVP returning and reviving projects, activities, and relationships. There have also been big developments in the Tibar community where KD is based with the completion of the Tibar Port and road project which has brought KD within 10-15 minutes drive of the city.
Today we live in a world defined by the Covid-19 pandemic and the importance of the health sector has never been more significant. KD’s steadfast presence in Timor-Leste has strengthened our networks in national health policy and KD’s relationships with government and international co-operation organisations. KD plays an important role in the Heath Sector in Timor-Leste, both through medical services in physiotherapy, dental, mental health, but also at the front line of the Tuberculosis epidemic and the global goal to end TB. Our focus on disability and TB have become important agents of change and it is through the commitment of Ryder-Cheshire Australia members that this has been possible.
It has been greatly rewarding to see that our GeneXpert Laboratory project for the Viqueque Health Center with support of Australian Aid is now achieving 300% of the annual TB case detection target set when the program began, and has not skipped a beat since it was handed over to the Timorese government at the end of 2019. Ryder-Cheshire Australia’s support was the foundation of this successful project which now plays an important role in Timor-Leste’s national TB program.
Our CBR program, the first of many KD initiatives in Timor-Leste, continues to provide every kind of mobility equipment to support people with disability; walking frames, wheel chairs, crutches, and the list goes on. With support from individuals and institutional donors like the Australian Catholic University (ACU), we are addressing needs of individuals and creating opportunities for their futures. Students from the John Garton Program are regularly entering further education, and Garton’s alumni now include graduates from the National University.
Recently, cyclone Seroja swept through Timor-Leste. There was an overwhelming response of emergency relief from KD’s supporters in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK allowing us to work quickly to rebuild communities. The rebuilding process and works to protect KD and our local community from natural disasters have reaffirmed our enduring commitment to supporting Timor-Leste and will help to ensure our future security.
Every day I see KD making the best efforts at a task that Ryder-Cheshire Australia set in motion in Timor-Leste some 22 years ago. KD is in full swing doing what we set out to do in our charter and with a sense of determination ‘For the relief of suffering for people who are sick, disabled, and destitute without discrimination’. Together let us continue to build this capacity and enable Klibur Domin to continue this important work.
Martin Moingard AVI Volunteer
The gardens at Klibur Domin in Tibar, Timor-Leste viewed from the entrance to St Damian’s
Consultation with the World Health Organisation regional Green Light Committee at Klibur Domin’s drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment facility