The Brisbane Family Building a Legacy of Learning in Balibo

The Brisbane Family Building a Legacy of Learning in Balibo

Rofina [left] & Gabby [centre] with CLC students

The Rankin family of Mt Gravatt East has a special relationship with the community of Balibo in Timor Leste (East Timor) that spans generations as well as geographic and cultural boundaries.

In 2016, Michele Rankin set off for Balibo after heeding the call for an Organisational Development Mentor to work alongside local staff at the Balibo 5 Community Learning Centre (CLC) and Balibo Dental Clinic. The Community Learning Centre aims to foster empowerment by fortifying skills and capabilities building skills necessary for sustainable development. The Centre is a grass roots organisation that was established in memory of the 5 Australian based journalists that were murdered in Balibo in 1975.

Gabby [left] & Michele [right] with the Women’s Centre Leadership team [Sidonia, Rofina & Ella]

Michele completed her two-year assignment however returned to Balibo in 2019 to continue her work there. This time she was accompanied by her daughter Gabby, who had accepted the role of English mentor working with local teachers, tour guides and children. Only one year into their assignments, Michele and Gabby returned to Australia due to the growing COVID 19 pandemic. The relationship and trust built between the Brisbane and the Balibo parties allowed Michele and Gabby to continue to work remotely and provide assistance wherever possible.

Saude Nihan program – Education and prevention of dental disease in remote communities.

Rofina is a local Timorese woman who epitomizes the empowerment of long-term mentoring.  She has fortified her skills and capabilities over the years and is now the Centre Administration and Finance Manager. She is pivotal to the planning and delivery of many education and empowerment programs for local women and girls. She has developed a very close connection to the Rankin family.

Gabby & Rofina promoting English classes

Now that international travel is again possible, Michele will be returning to Balibo in July, with her daughter, Anjelica, a Communications expert who will continue to assist staff in delivering the CLC English program and provide assistance to the Balibo Trails guides and the Balibo Tourism working group.

Balibo Trails

Your donation will enable the Balibo community to host Michele and Anjelica as they inspire and assist those with least opportunity to further develop skills for self-reliance and sustainable development. Click here to see what other roles are available and enquire about one that might suit your own expertise.  For more information call Palms on 02 9560 5333 or 0422 472 567.