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City of Ballarat Community Magazine October 2011
the Perfect Match
Thousands of children in Ainaro, East Timor, will discover the joys of tennis thanks
to the City of Ballarat’s Friends of Ainaro Community Committee, community
volunteer Kate Owen, ‘Teachers 4 Timor’ and the Ballarat Men’s Shed.
In a joint project, the local groups came together to make tennis equipment
that has been shipped over to 26 schools in Ballarat’s Friendship District of
Ainaro, Timor Leste.
A visit to Ainaro by Ballarat resident and self-confessed tennis enthusiast,
Pauline Corcoran in 2009 led to the development of an unlikely partnership.
Although not a big part of the sporting scene in Timor Leste, Ms Corcoran
believed that tennis would be a popular sport with local schoolchildren.
Council’s Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Community Committee was eager to back
the initiative and knew the perfect people to make the idea a reality: the
dedicated and skilled craftsmen at the Ballarat Men’s Shed.
City of Ballarat People and Communities Portfolio Councillor Des Hudson
thanked the local group for making the tennis equipment for the Ainaro
“The men at the Ballarat Men’s Shed volunteered a huge amount of their time
to construct hundreds of wooden tennis bats and net posts from donated
Cr Hudson said the programs are fantastic for fitness, ball handling skills and
mini tennis skill development and can be provided in most schools without
requiring an actual tennis court.
“We sent these bats and net posts, some donated tennis balls and some
other tennis gear to 26 schools in Ainaro, giving upwards of 10,000 Ainaro
District students the opportunity to take part in physical activities not normally
available to them.”
The Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Community Committee has also supported the
training of tennis coaches in East Timor through the Tennis Federation of Timor
Leste and been involved in the Kids Tennis Program run from Dili.
PUTTING THE WHEELS IN MOTION
The Ballarat/Sebastopol Cycling Club sent a team of six riders to East Timor
in September for the annual Tour de Timor.
The riding team not only enjoyed a physical challenge but also raised enough
money in the lead up to the event to fund a solar panel installation project
Ballarat’s Friendship District of Ainaro. The solar lighting system will illuminate
a primary school in the remote village of Mau Nuno, Ainaro.
This valuable need for reliable electrical lighting was identified through the
Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Committee.
More than 250 international riders spent six days mountain biking the Tour de
Timor and raising the profile of one of the world’s poorest nations.
These latest projects are just two of many to benefit the communities in
Ainaro during the last eight years of the friendship relationship with the City
CITY OF BALLARAT PROJECTS IN AINARO
• Provision of a Community Development worker in Ainaro from
• Ainaro basketball and volleyball court rehabilitation
• Ainaro sustainable agriculture project
• Gift of a video camera for local youth theatre group
• Ainaro Community Centre restoration and inauguration
• Ainaro community governance workshops
• Solar panel installation and training programs
• Friendship delegations
• Tertiary scholarships
Right: People and Communities Portfolio Councillor and Ballarat Friends of Ainaro
Community Committee Chairperson Des Hudson is pictured with members of the
Ballarat Men’s Shed preparing to ship the tennis equipment to Ainaro, Timor Leste.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Committee also has links with the
Teachers 4 Timor group.
Teachers 4 Timor has been running outstanding English Language
programs in Ainaro since 2006. The group has also provided a number
of scholarships for tertiary students from Ainaro.
For more information or to contribute to the Teachers 4 Timor program,
Rob Gray – Ph. 0438396163
E. Rob.Gray@bgs.vic.edu.au, or
Julie Chandler – Ph. 0438568662
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