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Hangman - Vocabulary Builder. Windows Mobile Smartphone Software Items. Dictionaries Software for Windows Mobile. Palm OS Software Items. Sony Ericsson Software Items. Each district of East Timor has a government educational administration and primary, junior high and senior high schools. Schools are required to follow government curriculum guidelines.

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There are no separate curriculum guidelines for students with disabilities. The languages of instruction in all schools are Indonesian, Tetun and Portuguese.

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English is often taught as a foreign language. There is currently a Portuguese language teacher-training program in all districts, funded by Lisbon through its Camoes Foundation. At the present time, only limited numbers of people can read or write in Portuguese. Two common causes of vision impairment in East Timor are eye trauma and Vitamin A deficiency. Causes of Vitamin A deficiency include poor nutrition and disease resulting in poor absorption of nutrients. Diseases in East Timor include malaria, diphtheria, polio, typhoid and tuberculosis TB.

Parasites such as hookworm ingestion through bare feet in rice paddies or exposure to urine and saliva on ground surfaces also effect Vitamin A absorption. Causes of eye trauma include accidents involving the eye, including injuries inflicted by military and militia forces before and after independence in Timor Aid is an East Timorese non-government organization, funded by local and overseas bodies to conduct a range of programs. Current programs include a Literacy program for women, b Capacity building for non-government organizations in the area of project management, and c Disabled Children project.

The Disabled Children Project addresses such areas as identification, awareness- raising, and quality of life improvements. Timor Aid is currently undertaking a national survey to identify children with disabilities in each district. Information is collected under the categories of physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities.

Table One below presents data collected on numbers of children with disabilities, and numbers and percentages of this group who have vision impairment. It is noted that not all villages and towns in the six districts have been surveyed, and therefore demographics on total numbers of children with vision impairment in each district or nationally cannot be extrapolated. The ETEP team consists of ophthalmologists, optometrists, theatre nurses, anaesthetist, and program logistician.

The Right to Sight. The total population of the district of Aileu is 36, Of this group, approximately people were prescribed spectacles for near and distance vision. Tables two and three below provide information on people whose eye conditions could not be addressed through the prescription of spectacles.

The group of people with inoperable eye conditions and their families received basic orientation and mobility training from the author, with some white canes provided as appropriate. None of this group was literate, and none of the children attended school. The East Timor Eye Care Program team assessed and treated approximately people over a five-day period at Dili Hospital, including people with the following eye conditions.

The author is aware of two young people who are blind attending Taibessi Special School in Dili, and ten young people with vision impairment receiving braille literacy instruction at Fuan Nabilan in Dili. Information on school enrolments of children with low vision is unavailable. One child attending school is six-year-old Fernando, who lives in the District of Aileu.

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Fernando had polio as a baby and, through the efforts of the Maryknoll Sisters received cataract surgery during childhood, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. Fernando can identify colours, but has insufficient functional vision to access print. He attends his local village school, but is unable to participate in reading and writing activities.

The author compiled the following list of needs and issues over the two-week period of the project. It is offered as a starting point to raise awareness of the issues and impediments that must be considered and addressed in the establishment of a model for the provision of educational services for people with vision impairment in East Timor. The following education model has been constructed through the process of discussion with government officials, educators, village chiefs, church leaders, aid workers and local people in villages.

The successful establishment of educational services for people with vision impairment will require the identification of an organization that will take responsibility for the management and coordination of education service development in each district. In particular, this organization would manage the flow of information and resources, and the placement and support of trained personnel.

Early identification of children with vision impairment could occur through a number of channels:. One limiting factor is the shortage of adequate health facilities outside Dili, with the exception of health services provided by religious orders. Early identification of children with vision impairment in remote villages may not occur if the mother does not seek medical support or attend an ETEP clinic in her district. The proposed model supports intensive instruction in disability-specific curriculum in a community-based special setting, followed by inclusive education in the child's local village school.

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It would be beneficial to build upon existing structures and services in the districts, such as health and vocational programs. This approach would require networking between national and international agencies. Collaboration would minimize capital expenditure and enhance and streamline the provision of services to communities. In some districts, significant community programs and services have been established by religious orders, such as the Maryknoll Sisters of Aileu.

Educational programs could be provided through partnerships with such religious orders. This is a youth centre network, with funding and operation by various organizations, for example The Body Shop sponsors a youth centre in Viqueque. Educational and rehabilitation services for people who are vision impaired could operate on "market days" at the youth centres.

On market days, people travel from their villages to the main town to sell their produce. It would a feasible day for families to bring their children with vision impairment to the youth centre. For example, such volunteer organizations as Australian Volunteers International AVI could provide trained volunteers to teach disability-specific education and rehabilitation skills to people with vision impairment.

Disability-specific training of volunteers would be required by foundations for the blind and educational institutions offering specialist training programs, such as the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind and Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children NSW. The placement of international volunteers with specialist training would be negotiated through the East Timorese government's Division of Social Services, and also through consultation with District Education Administrators, church and community groups. An essential component of the provision of educational and rehabilitation services would be the involvement of communities and the empowerment of.

With independence comes the newly acquired freedom and responsibility of communities, interest groups and individuals to take part in the decision making process at macro and micro levels in society and government. The involvement of communities and individuals in the establishment of education and rehabilitation services for people with vision impairment would enhance the long term success of community-based programs. The Maryknoll Sisters in the district of Aileu have a network of "Community Motivators" who support the Sisters in their provision of health services within the district.

Community motivators are volunteers from villages who work within their communities to support the health and well-being of the community. The "community motivators" are trusted and respected members of their communities. The Division of Social Services of the East Timor government has proposed a system of "Volunteer Disability Mobilisers", that is, volunteers from local communities who would receive training in disability related issues.

As with the Maryknoll initiative of "Community Motivators", the "Volunteer disability mobilisers" would be empowered to act as advocates for people with disabilities within their local communities, as well as identifying people who need educational and rehabilitation support services. Both organizations would benefit from the establishment of formal and informal links with regular schools in the Dili district.

Such links would enable the progression of students from special to inclusive education settings, as well as enable the sharing of human and physical resources, educational programs and professional development opportunities. The establishment of a "sister school program" with overseas schools would also enhance the operation of Fuan Nabilan and Taibessi School. Taibessi Special School for Disabled currently provides an educational program for children aged seven to 15 years old who have physical, intellectual or sensory disabilities blind and deaf. Of the 12 students currently enrolled, two students are blind.

School hours are 8. The children return home for lunch periods between No residential facilities are currently available.

Fuan Nabilan currently offers education services to ten people under the age of Fuan Nabilan requires support with establishment of school premises, training and provision of a vehicle See Appendix 5. Fuan Nabilan staff also plan to establish a community-based rehabilitation and independent living centre in the town of Same in the district of Manufahi.

Negotiations with the government District Administrators for education and health are currently underway. Taibessi Special School and Fuan Nabilan staff require support from the international community in teacher training in the areas of orientation and mobility, braille literacy and numeracy, low vision, optical aids, and itinerant teaching models. With appropriate training, staff at Taibessi Special School and Fuan Nabilan could provide specialised educational support and training to educators and administrators in regular schools in the future.

It is recommended that the braille code used for the production of reading material is the Portuguese braille code, Grade 1. It also accommodates the Indonesian braille system, with the exception of the braille signs for 'ng' and 'ny'. Braille reading material could therefore be produced in Tetun, Portuguese and Indonesian as required. This capacity building initiative would enable Fuan Nabilan to produce and supply braille reading materials to people with vision impairment in all districts of East Timor. Ongoing international support and maintenance of equipment would be essential.

The author is currently negotiating the purchase of braille production technology through Timor Aid, with thanks to Jersey Overseas Aid for the provision of funds.

A large percentage of the population are subsistence farmers. Education services for people with vision impairment, in tandem with vocational training, is the key to improving the quality of life and community perception of people with vision impairment. Possible vocational options for people with vision impairment are teaching, farming, handicrafts and community-based therapy services such as therapeutic massage and herbal remedies.

The following recommendations are submitted for the consideration of the international community. They relate to the educational model proposed, plus the issues and needs identified through the needs analysis process. East Timorese people with vision impairment currently do not have a "voice" at any level of society. They are cared for by families and communities, but are not expected to contribute to at any level of society or receive an education. Fuan Nabilan has gathered together a group of bright young blind adults who are keen to bring about change in East Timor for people with vision impairment.

One of the group is literate in Indonesian Braille, having received an education in Indonesia, and others have commenced development of their braille literacy skills. With international support, there is great potential to promote the formation of an East Timorese Association of the Blind. Ongoing commitment to training programs provided by the international community is required to promote capacity building within East Timor, and the development of quality, sustainable educational and rehabilitation services and structures.

Schools in all districts urgently require educational resources, in Portuguese, Indonesian, Tetun and English, including the following:. People with vision impairment require access to education and resources, including the following:. Adults and children have minimal access to books of any kind. There is a need for a public library in Dili and mobile library service for the twelve other districts. The project objective of conducting a needs analysis of services for children who are blind or vision impaired was achieved, with thanks to the many people who contributed their knowledge and ideas.

The model and recommendations presented in this report represent a starting point for the provision of education support and services in East Timor, and highlight the importance of commitment and involvement of the international community. During my two weeks in East Timor, I encountered a society and people rich in culture, where family and community bonds were strong.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Australian Eye Care team and Maryknoll Sisters, who welcomed me into their midst as travelling companion and friend. It was a privilege to witness their significant work in East Timor and to experience the gratitude and respect in which they are held by village communities, government and church leaders, and other health care professionals. My strongest memories of East Timor are linked with the miracles of restoration of sight by the ETEP team, and the openness and the realisation that impoverishment on the physical plane does not equate with impoverishment of spirit, community and personal dignity.

Email address of Division of Social Services: Learning to speak and write Tetun. Assessment of people in Aileu who require spectacles, eye surgery Training provided to families and people who are blind and ineligible for surgery: Assessed vision of people with low vision and gave out magnifiers where appropriate. Met school principal of Fatubosa School, and teacher and village chief from Kolau village.

Worked with people with vision impairment blind and low vision. Visited local school and discussed educational needs.


Attended special religious celebrations in Town of Aileu. Bishop Belo visited Aileu.

Travel to Dili via 4-wheel drive vehicle. The inner region of East Timor is mountainous. Roads are narrow and windy, with many parts unsealed and single lane only. Four-wheel drive vehicles are required. Travel distances between destinations should therefore be considered in time, rather than kilometres or miles. It is the view of Fuan Nabilan that we need very much to continue the cooperation between Mrs Frances, an eye specialist, and our Foundation.