Sub village chief brings education to rural village

Thanks to the efforts of the sub village chief and the community, Jorge and Gresia no longer need to walk far away across the jungle to get to school. Now they live near to the new classroom which has been built in their village.

Group of young school children waving their arms in the air.
The village children outside their new classroom. Photo Credit: Plan International Timor-Leste

“We come from a small and very remote hamlet, currently we are in 3rd grade at elementary school. Our village is surrounded by mountains and forests. This caused us to be late attending school since it took almost 3 hours to walk across jungle rivers and climbing mountains to get to school, therefore, to avoid the danger that befell us, our parents decided not to send us to school even though we were already 6 years old,” tell Jorge* and Gresia*.

Converted house gets local children back to school

“The sub village chief collaborated with one of the teachers and parents, they converted a particular house into a simple formal classroom for us.”


“My parents started sending me to school when I was 10 years old, and the long walking distance from home to school caused me to be late for school every day, not only that, I often felt tired and thirsty, sometimes I was sick, and I find it more difficult to go to school during the rainy season. Due to these obstacles, I missed a lot of lessons and made me lose the courage to study and finally I decided it was better not to go to school.

After a few months, our sub village chief came to my house and he registered my name to join the children’s play group at his house, to ensure the children have proper place to learn. The sub village chief collaborated with one of the teachers and parents, they converted a particular house into a simple formal classroom for us, and this transformation allows me to re-access formal education even though the facilities are limited. I was very happy at that time, because I could go back to school without having to walk far and through the forest and rivers,” said Jorge.

Head of village’s house turned into a classroom so children can study

“I started studying at our sub village chief’s house when I was 8 years old. At that time, our sub village chief gathered the children in our sub village, including me, to study informally at his house. studying in a place that does not have basic facilities is a tough challenge for us. However, I did not consider this to be an obstacle for myself, instead this continues to inspire me to study hard to become a good student in our learning group.

I feel very lucky to have diligent teachers and a head of sub village who is committed to sacrificing their resources to bring success to us as children. One year later we started our formal education even though our class conditions were very simple, we just sat on a spread carpet on the floor while our class was going on.

“We  don’t need to walk far away to go to school, because we live nearest to the new classroom.”

Gresia and Jorge

As time went by 2 years later, the people in our village began to build our new school using roof tiles, the construction was generously donated by our parents and existing community, Thank you for the the brilliant initiative and contribution from the sub village chief, teacher and parents,” said Gresia.

New classroom has been constructed for children in the rural village

The new classroom building.
The newly constructed classroom. Photo Credit: Plan International

“By seen at the learning commitment and contribution from the community and parents in our hamlet, recently Plan International Timor-Leste has built our new classroom with basic school facilities such as tables, chairs, blackboards and many other things, I am happier to have the new class room.

Now we don’t need to walk far away cross the jungle, river and use the head of hamlet house to study, because we live near to the new class room, and we also don’t need to use sub village house to study.

We are thankful for the brilliant initiative from our sub village chief and teacher and parents, because we wouldn’t have the new classroom without the effort they made initially, and we are also very grateful for Plan International Timor-Leste through Japao National office who have offered this new class room for us. We are committed to take care of this new classroom and keep and maintain its quality for generations to come in this village.” Expressed Gresia and Jorge.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

The rural village landscape.
Village landscape. Photo Credit: Plan International