According to EI affiliate, the East Timor Teachers’ Union (ETTU), many teachers and students are still living in refugee camps after three months of violence that shook the already war-torn country.
Sources from the ETTU informed EI that slowly, schools and universities are open again after months of closure, although for many children and youth, school is still located in refugee camps where they now live.
On 8 August 2006, EI disbursed financial assistance from the Solidarity Fund to help with the daily functioning of these schools. This funding will be used mainly for the purchase of writing materials and books, to ensure learning and teaching continue even in difficult conditions such as these.
Teachers struggle to re-organise
The ETTU headoffice building located in the capital Dili was destroyed together with the office equipment, making it difficult for the secretariat to contact members, who are now displaced in different parts of the country. An accurate assessment of the repercussion of the violence on teachers and children cannot be easily obtained.
However, ETTU General Secretary Filomeno Salsinha revealed that the ETTU has come up with a rehabilitation plan to rebuild and to consolidate its membership. Despite the lack of an office, ETTU now functions from the homes of several union leaders.
The rehabilitation plan will help the ETTU to hold its National Congress in 2007.