Posted by David Button on Feb 25, 2021
Rotary is a great organisation to transform lives through cooperation. For example, the Rotary Clubs of Berwick, Pakenham and Mt Eliza (in District 9820) played a part in creating a dental clinic for the people in the Balibo District of Timor Leste. We were part of a bigger picture with Rotary Clubs far and wide, RAWCS, DIK, the Balibo Trust, Palms Australia, the Timor Leste Government, a band of volunteer Australian dentists and the local village elders. Each group worked together to bring dentistry and oral hygiene to an area that had previously never had a dentist.
When I visited the clinic in 2018 with Roger Thornton (RC Pakenham), Geoff and Di Double (RC Berwick), David Dippie (RC Keilor) and Doug Hemmingway (RC Port Melbourne), it was just getting going. The two people in blue above, Sidone and Felix were the first dental nurses trained by the Australian dentists. Finally, the team is growing and delivering dental services to outlying villages and schools. The services include oral hygiene education for students, days for girls education and dental treatment referrals. These people are making our initial dream of helping the people of Balibo a reality, but more than that, a significant improvement to the people of Balibo. From the beginning there were issues of trust, as the villagers had never heard of a dentist, let alone seen one! 
Although the Rotary Club of Berwick is only a small cog in the wheels of progress, it gives me great joy that we have been part of this bigger picture. Local people have been trained and progress has been made.
So here is the kicker!
This week I had a birthday and at my age I much prefer to give rather than receive. I have given a few dollars to the Balibo Trust to get the team going again after their trusty car has become "untrusty". Please join me if you can, OR share the word with your friends. 
Please help us improve dental hygiene and support teachers and young women in Timor-Leste.
Since 2002, the Balibo House Trust has supported programs in the small village of Balibo, located three hours west of Dili, Timor-Leste. More recently our work has extended to support the 35 schools and kindergartens – which educate approximately 3,700 young people – across the remote western district of Bobonaro. Our dental nurses from the Balibo dental clinic visit primary schools to provide oral health screening and education, supporting dental hygiene from an early age and allowing children access to proper dental care. Our education mentor provides support and training to teachers in remote village schools. We also deliver 'Days for Girls' Kits – which support women’s empowerment and dignity – and provide training to secondary school students.
The work is dependent upon our trusty Toyota, purchased by the Balibo House Trust. However, as the car nears the end of its life, our ability to travel becomes increasingly difficult. We are seeking support to raise $25,000 to purchase a second-hand vehicle in Dili, to enable us to continue our work and support communities in western Timor-Leste.