The Encouragement House

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We are now in our fifth year at Encouragement House (EH) and have 160 students, 80 girls and 80 boys now going to high school. Before EH there was very little chance children from the remote Lolotoe district could further their education beyond primary school. There is no public transport and it takes at least four hours in a 4×4 to travel 40 kilometers as roads are so rough.

This means that the boys would become farm labourers and the girls would most likely be married and have children at a very young age. The poverty cycle would continue. Education seems to be a sure way out of poverty for most. EH has been designed to cater for these children and offer them a chance to further their education.Encouragement House is in Maliana, the district capital where there are three high schools within an easy walk. The Junior High is immediately alongside EH.EH provides safe, clean and supervised accommodation for high school students from Lolotoe so they can concentrate on their studies and go on to careers such as nurses, teachers, trades people or other professions needed in this developing country. Of our first three high school graduates, two are at university in Dili.EH is in strong demand for places.

The EH children are also supported by the government whose approval of the project provides our children with rice provisions on a monthly basis as well as mats and blankets for each child.To visit the Encouragement House please contact us or visit www.destinationdreaming.org.au for more information. Destination Dreaming offer five-day trips that are life-changing for the better for both the Timor students and their Australian visitors.

Encouragement House history

  • 2006 – Robert and Liz Dickson met Deo in Dili and identified the opportunity for the Encouragement House
  • 2009 – The first building ‘Kangaroo’ a hostel for 40 children was built and opened in September 2009
  • 2010 – ‘Koala’ was built a hostel for 40 children
  • 2011 – ‘Wombat’ was built a hostel for 40 children and a study shelter was built (shelter funded by Scotch Oakburn College and Destination Dreaming)
  • 2012 – ‘Kookaburra’ was built a hostel for 40 children and a library was built (library funded by the ANZ bank)
  • 2013 – Building and opening of the kindergarten and accommodation lodge

Deo’s StoryDeo was born in the village of Gildapil (pronounced Jildapil) on April 5, 1981 in the mountainous high country of East Timor, near the border of West Timor.DeoDeo excelled at the local primary school where his father, Benjamin da Costa was the teacher.In 1992 it was time for Deo to attend high school, yet the nearest school was in Maliana and he had no relatives that he could stay with there. So Deo’s father bought a small hut, about 4×4 meters and at age eleven Deo lived alone except for school holidays when he would return home to his parents.

Every morning after a wash from the water bowl Deo would cook his three meals for the day on the open fire near his hut and headoff to school.  His father had arranged that 10 kg of rice be made available to Deo each month and he supplemented his meal with vegetables from the local market.In 1993, Florencio, Deo’s younger brother came to live with him so he could also go to high school.Eventually Deo’s father, his mother, Rosentina, and his two younger sisters, Mery and Lota moved to Maliana where his dad became principal of a primary school.Deo graduated from senior school in 1998 and moved to the capital city of Dili to commence a university degree in Public Administration.

Initially he lived with his aunt but later moved to a small rented room where he could study better.  When violence erupted in 1999, following the independence elections, the university was closed. Deo and his father moved into the jungle. Deo’s mother and sisters were forced by the militia to move to West Timor.  When the political situation stabilised, the university reopened and Deo returned to his studies.  He supported himself with any work he could get, in a shop and as a builder’s labourer constructing the Comoro markets among other things.  In 2004, Deo accepted a full time position with the Australian charity, Opportunity International [OI] as a supervisor. He continued his degree part-time.  In April 2005, violence broke out again and OI, along with most Western charities moved from East Timor. Deo returned to Malian, which remained at peace.  Since then, Deo has worked as an advisor to a number of charities including CHF, World Vision and Belun.