"Now I no longer feel heavy, because I have been trained" - Mary MacKillop Today

“Now I no longer feel heavy, because I have been trained”

One of the biggest investments a country can make for its future is to provide quality education for its children.

In Timor-Leste, school enrolment has seen a tremendous increase, but the quality of education is still lacking. To put things in context, a recent study showed that by the end of Grade One, 70% of students could not read a single word presented to them.

This is why Mary MacKillop Today’s Tetun Volunteer Teacher Support Project provides ongoing training and support to pre-primary and primary teachers from remote areas. This includes equipping them with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to effectively deliver the national curriculum to their students, ensuring they receive quality education in every classroom.

Picture of Belarmino teaching preschool children
Belarmino teaching preschool children.

Belarmino has been teaching preschool children for 13 years. He shared how he has struggled to provide a strong education for his students due to many different factors.

Before Mary MacKillop Today’s Volunteer Teacher Support Project, teachers in remote villages like Belarmino’s were given very little support for managing their classrooms. As the number of students increased in schools, the harder it became for teachers to manage, care, and educate each child.

“Before I attended the teacher training with Mary MacKillop Today, I was finding it very hard because there was no method for teaching children,” said Belarmino.

He continued to share his challenges, mentioning, “Sometimes when I teach, one child would cry, another would act out, and yet another would be playing. I felt so miserable, like I just wanted to quit this job.”

But things took a dramatic shift once Belarmino received training from Mary MacKillop Today’s Volunteer Teacher Support Project. After receiving training, he states, “I have learned how to teach in the classroom and teach children in ways that make them interested. Now I no longer feel heavy, because I have been trained, and have found a way to reach children.”

Included in the training program are lesson plans and classroom management techniques to support the teachers in the classroom.

“There used to be no lesson plans,” said Belarmino, “but now we have lessons and know how to implement them.” With the increase in students at Belarmino’s school, 60 students in 2023 with an anticipated increase in 2024, this kind of support is vital for teachers to provide quality education for the children they serve.

Belarmino also speaks of the joy he has in the classroom now that he has support.

“I’ve continued teaching because I’ve been proud to see kids read, write, and learn. Seeing them pick up their own books from Mary MacKillop Today makes me feel so proud.”

Thanks to kind people like you, teachers like Belarmino can continue their important work as educators, creating lasting change for the future of their children and country.

Belarmino says, “I thank Mary MacKillop Today and the donors for the training and support. May we continue this activity, especially in rural areas.”

If you’d like to support more communities like Belarmino’s, please partner with us and donate now.