Whitefriars College as a Catholic school in the Carmelite tradition supports the mission of the Carmelites Australia and Timor-Leste. Their ministry includes a house of formation for aspiring Carmelites in Hera and a parish in the south-western village of Zumalai. Since 2001, Whitefriars has supported the work of the Carmelites in Timor-Leste through social justice, fundraising for educational scholarships and promoting partnerships by student/staff immersions.
The College’s partnership with Timor-Leste is multifaceted:
Timor-Leste Immersion Experience
The Timor-Leste Immersion Experience provides the opportunity for ten students and several staff from Whitefriars to live in the Carmelite communities of Hera and Zumalai.
Here, students assist younger children in the classroom and interact with the locals. Zumalai is no stranger to Whitefriars, as the College has been very supportive through its fundraising and promotion of the town’s development over the past few years.
The opportunity for students to travel to Timor-Leste and stay with the Carmelites in Dili and at the parish of Zumalai, allows them to become immersed in and open to the transformative experience of living in another culture.
In 2020 the Carmelites Australia and Timor-Leste launched Carmel Impact, a charity through which their community development programs in Timor-Leste are delivered. Carmel Impact has received Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) status from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC). Carmel Impact provides a framework for the Whitefriars community to support the Carmelite ministry in Timor-Leste, and is focussed on social advocacy through:
- Scholarships: 25 students receiving scholarships to access education at secondary school and university in Timor-Leste
- Boarding house: 24 students from rural communities in Timor-Leste have access to accommodation so they can attend school in the Zumalai Sub-District centre
- Schools: two Catholic schools in Zumalai receive support in teacher training, updating education resources, infrastructure maintenance and subsidy payments for volunteers
- Carmelite Student Higher Education Study: 32 Carmelite students learning language and other humanities studies are receiving an education that will prepare them for further study to priesthood or working in the Timorese community.
- Sport: A soccer and volleyball tournament brings youth together from villages throughout Zumalai during the school holidays, promoting sport, wellbeing and community cohesion
- Culture: In partnership with the sport, a singing competition and other cultural activities are run for youth, encouraging performance skills and building young people’s confidence.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”