Timor-Leste: Inclusive Early Education - Mary MacKillop Today

Timor-Leste: Inclusive Early Education

Project Overview

Many challenges remain in order for children in Timor-Leste to have access to quality education. These challenges include high rates of school drop-outs; absenteeism; geographic disparities in access; lack of educational resources; and limited educational opportunities for vulnerable groups of children. Furthermore, teachers continue to engage in rote learning and are not trained to approach the curriculum with creativity and innovation, and are therefore unable to effectively engage children in the classroom. In response to these challenges, Mary MacKillop Today’s Inclusive Early Education Project (formerly known as the Mobile Learning Centre) will give the poorest and most neglected children the opportunity to access books and educational facilities through the provision of a library learning centre and interactive workshops, encouraging children to develop a passion for education and creatively engage in key learning areas.


  • Regular visits to schools/orphanages to conduct children’s ‘edu-tainment’ activities including using music as a tool for teaching literacy and numeracy, drama, craft activities and group reading.
  • Conduct inclusive education activities with children with disability or affected by trauma.
  • Mentor teachers to be able to apply creative and fun activities in the classroom including puppet shows, music and reading activities.
  • Provide schools and orphanages with Tetum story books and other educational resources to borrow and to keep.

Annual Impact

  • Visit nearly 5000 students in pre-primary and primary schools generating excitement around education and allowing children to develop a passion for learning.
  • Allow 300 teachers to borrow books and other learning materials.
  • Ensure over 50 children with a disability have the opportunity to engage in inclusive learning activities.
  • Provide a creative outlet for children affected by trauma and poverty to express themselves and explore their feelings, through activities such as music and drama.


I like learning music from the Mary MacKillop Today’s team. I never had experienced anything like this before. Now I have the knowledge of learning music and know how to sing few songs like Nabilan-Nabilan (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). All my friends also enjoy the music lesson. We sometimes sing together the songs that we learn from Mary MacKillop Today. Music really helps us to be more creative, understand, relax and be disciplined. Apart from singing the songs we also learn how to play music instruments and music games as well as clap the rhythms well. My teacher also supports us in the class when the music lesson is delivered. Children like us need something like that so we don’t get bored in the school.”

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