Home>May 2021>Chicken coop and Breakfast program for dormitory students in Timor-Leste

Chicken coop and Breakfast program for dormitory students in Timor-Leste

Thanks to your generosity, 81 students in Railaco, Timor-Leste no longer attend school on an empty stomach.

Beginning in 2020, a grassroots chicken coop and breakfast program is supporting the healthy development and independence of dormitory students at Jesuit-run secondary school NOSSEF (Escola Secundaria Católica Nossa Senhora de Fátima).

“Before we had difficulties with our food since there are 40 of us in the (girls) dormitory. But now we have breakfast every day and we also eat chicken, fish, tempe or tofu for lunch and dinner.”
Antegracia, a student of the girls dormitory.

Dormitory students started the school day without breakfast and would wait until lunch to receive food from the school canteen. Due to hunger, students found it harder to concentrate during classes and were more prone to illness.

There were also concerns that the students' limited diet of plain rice and fried bok choy would not address their need for protein or other nutrients and could stunt their physical development.

Juvenido 

Now with the chicken coop and vegetable gardens, students can rear chickens for their eggs and meat, allowing them to prepare healthier food for themselves, without financial concerns.

“This program is beneficial to all of us in this dormitory. We started with only a few chickens but now have around one hundred.”
Juvenido, a student of the boys dormitory.

The recently constructed boys dormitory on the school grounds currently accomodates 41 boys, while the girls’ dormitory, which accommodates 40 girls, is on a nearby property and is supervised by an order of nuns.

Most of the students’ parents are subsistence farmers from remote villages and it is not easy for them to support their children’s education.

Without the dormitories, these students would not be able to attend school as their villages are many hours travel away on mountainous roads.

Some of the girls at the dormitory and Sister Olga Oliveira, SPC, who is in charge of the girls’ dormitory in Railaco. 

The Jesuit-run Secondary School, NOSSEF, provides schooling for 380 students from Year 10 to Year 12. Over the last few years the school has remarkably achieved a 100% pass rate in the National exams for Year 12 with many students going on to tertiary study.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, this year NOSSEF divided its students into two groups, where Group A studies at home for a week and Group B attends classes at school for a week. When a wave of COVID cases emerged in April, the school was closed temporarily, however, it is now open with all staff and students required to wear a mask, sanitise regularly and maintain a safe distance.

“I would like to thank the donors for their generosity in supporting us in Railaco. We will do our best to be good students and we ask for your prayers so that we may have a brighter future to serve this country and the church."
Antegracia
Antegracia

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