Klibur Domin’s Beginnings
After witnessing the terrible events that followed the Referendum in Timor-Leste on 30 August 1999, Ryder-Cheshire Australia decided to establish a home to provide relief for some of the thousands of sick and disabled Timorese people who suffered terribly in the murder, arson and pillage.
At the time, patients from rural areas requiring major medical treatment were generally transferred to the Dili Hospital. Many of these patients remained at the Hospital in Dili even though they may have required only limited nursing or outpatient treatment. Examples were people being treated for tuberculosis who were on daily medication but did not need to be in an hospital bed. Similarly people who had had orthopaedic surgery or who were in plaster casts after breaking bones, did not need to occupy a bed, but they could not return to their homes until the cast was removed.
Also there were many malnourished children who required regular feeding and special care over weeks or months. Some patients stayed for many months, occupying hospital beds that should have been available to higher priority patients. Often the patients were accompanied by relatives who also needed accommodation in Dili.
Ryder-Cheshire established a home in the village of Tibar, 15 kilometres west of Dili, to care for these patients and their relatives until they are able to return to their villages. The home was called Klibur Domin, which in the local dialect (Tetum) means “Sharing with Love”.
The home was part of a complex which originally accommodated physically and intellectually disabled people. Of about 50 residents who lived at the home in Indonesian times (pre September 1999), only 18 remained at the home when Ryder-Cheshire assumed control in September 2000. There were also 16 staff, most of whom were trained in the care of people with disabilities. These staff became the core of the workforce for Klibur Domin.
The 18 buildings at Klibur Domin were not destroyed after the Referendum and they were of reasonably sound structure. However, they needed a lot of work to repair damage done and to make them suitable for our needs. Victorian Rotary Clubs provided a team of nine volunteers to restore the buildings, working with local staff.
Klibur Domin also needed furniture and equipment before it could take in the additional patients. Most of the building material and supplies needed, along with household and personal items donated by people in Victoria, were loaded into a shipping container and sent from Melbourne.
Klibur Domin admitted its first patients from the Dili Hospital in January 2001 and it now accommodate up to 70 patients and residents, sometimes more.
Volunteers from Australia organised the setting up of the home and also managed it in the first four years of its operation. The home is now managed and staffed by Timorese people. Australian volunteers continue to offer assistance, especially in areas where expertise is not available locally. A Board of Management was formed in 2001 to provide policy direction and oversight to Klibur Domin.
In 2002, Klibur Domin embarked on a Project to train eleven Timorese people in rehabilitation techniques. In 2006, due to a generous bequest, two projects were commenced. The first was a mobile Tuberculosis Team to detect and treat TB in remote villages and the second a Community Based Rehabilitation team to support children with disabilities in their communities.