Uma Garton at Klibur Domin

Klibur Domin (KD) is committed to assisting young people with a disability from rural areas to receive educational opportunities. The Garton Program was established in memory of John Garton, a generous supporter from Australia.  

In 2017, John Garton, a lifelong friend of Fr Ted Burns, died leaving a bequest of $50,000 for Klibur Domin. This money was used to modify and extend a cottage near the front gate to accommodate young people with disabilities from remote villages. The cottage is known as Uma Garton – ‘Uma’ meaning ‘house’. 

Uma Garton can accommodate ten students. They attend the High School, Immaculate Heart of Mary College, across the road from KD, for six years. Tutoring is also provided outside school hours by the teachers.  

Whilst living at Uma Garton the students are provided with support to attend school with uniforms and school supplies as well as a moderate standard of living including household items, food, and recreational activities. Medical and dental care are provided through the KD clinic. Equipment needed for therapy or independence is co-ordinated by KD’s Community Based Rehabilitation team.  

Each year Klibur Domin receives applications from rural students with a di

sability who would like to enter the program in the following year. Students traditionally come from the nearby Districts of Liquica and Ermera, but current and former young people have also included those from as far as Aileu and Suai, several hours drive into Timor-Leste’s mountain regions. The yearly intake ranges from 2 to 7 new students across different year levels. Three students will be graduating in 2022.  

The criteria for acceptance into the Uma Garton High School Program is as follows:  

  • The young person has a significant disability such as vision impairment, cerebral palsy, scoliosis or hip dysplasia, or may need a wheelchair or prosthesis for mobility.
  • The family gives permission for their son/daughter to enter the program and are committed to supporting the student at KD during their time of study. 
  • The young person is unable to attend a high school locally due to distance or problems of access.
  • The student’s family cannot afford educational opportunities.
  • The student has achieved year 6 with above average school results.
  • The young person is independent or has the potential to be independent with their showering, toileting, eating and walking or using a wheelchair for short distances and can independently get to the school across the road.
  • If the young person is over 18 and is receiving the disability subsidy, the young person
    and their family are prepared to contribute
    to expenses, if at all possible. 
  • The young person wishes to enter the program and is prepared to follow the Uma Garton code of conduct. 

The applicants will be interviewed and selected against these criteria. KD is responsible for making the decision regarding which students are best suited to the program.  

The young people who are accepted into the program are expected to continue to study hard and to uphold Uma Garton’s reputation for responsibility, community service and academic achievement. They are also expected to contribute to the running of Uma Garton. Cleaning and food services are provided though KD.  

Each student has a transition plan. KD staff work with the teachers at the Immaculate Heart of Mary School to identify possible post-school pathways to further develop their potential at the tertiary or technical level. Staff will also assist these young people to explore possible means of support for further

 study. A number of the young people have received scholarships to attend university and further skill development, and many have engaged in meaningful employment.  

Klibur Domin Garton Program for Students with a Disability is possible because of the generosity of private and institutional donors. 

Sr Joaquim Soares and Martin Moignard

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