Where does Grandfather Go?

Ballarat ACU Student Group Develop a Children’s Reading Book with Klibur Domin for Timor Leste

The Supporting Community Issues Project is the initiative of the Australian Catholic University and University of Ballarat. It has provided students currently undertaking the Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education with an opportunity to form partnerships with local, national and global community agencies.

East Timorese Children's book 2011pg 1Our group has had the privilege of being in partnership with Ryder-Cheshire Australia in Ballarat. Together, we have undertaken the development of a culturally appropriate Early Childhood Literacy Project for the children of the Klibur Domin Community in Timor Leste and surrounding villages.
Throughout this process, we have diligently sought direction and counsel from the committee of the Ballarat Support Group of Ryder-Cheshire Australia, the Klibur Domin staff in Timor Leste and the Australian Catholic University in Ballarat. We have pursued this collective wisdom to gain cultural insight into the identity, needs and values of the people of Klibur Domin and surrounding villages.

In a population of about 1.1 million, there are less than 350 Timorese children’s books in print. This statistic was a catalyst in the group’s decision to develop a children’s book; entitled, “Where does grandfather go?” This book embraces healthy lifestyle choices and affirms family values and relationships. The book uses the image of a crocodile, a highly revered Timor Leste animal to depict the figure of the grandfather. The book has been translated into the local language, Tetun, by Pelle and has been illustrated by local artist, Tony Amaral.

Bronwyn Lanyon, Robyn Ilett, Rachel Martino, Steffani Kuhn
Bronwyn Lanyon, Robyn Ilett, Rachel Martino, Steffani Kuhn

These partnerships have achieved a work of children’s literature that is culturally appropriate, Illustrated by a local artist, translated into the language of the people and has significant potential to be published and integrated into the wider school curriculum. The sphere of influence of the Early Literacy Project has grown well beyond our expectations.

Our sincere thanks to Ryder-Cheshire Australia for their encouragement and support of this project. It bears testimony to this truth which states, “The greatest advantage of pursuing a community development strategy lies with the fact that individuals begin to see what is possible to achieve by working together in partnership”.