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Maumeta School Project, Atauro Island

Maumeta School is a government primary/junior high school in Vila, the main village on Atauro island. There are 604 students (283 female and 321 male). The school has five buildings with three classrooms each, however two buildings are badly damaged and shouldn't be used (although one is). It has two toilet buildings (one with 8 toilets and the other with 4 toilets) neither of which are operating which means there are no toilets or running water at all for the school. The school runs two shifts a day (one morning and one afternoon, which is normal in Timor because of overcrowding) but also don't have enough chairs and tables even for the classrooms that are operating. 

Atauro is definitely the most beautiful location we've built a school in to date. It's off the coast from Dili and is just 25km long with a mountainous interior and a narrow coastal plain and is home to about 10,000 people. Most of those people are subsistence farmers and fishermen living in small villages linked by a dirt road or walking paths and its isolation from the rest of Timor (3 hours by ferry or 45 mins by speed boat) contributes to the extreme poverty. 

What is needed is a new four classroom building plus the repair of the toilets and more school furniture. The government has the school on their critical list, but has no ability to do any work there in the foreseeable future. As well as Agostinho (our project manager) we also had an Australian who owns the ecotourism lodge on Atauro look at the school for us. He is an ex-school principal and this is what he had to say:

"There are very strong trade winds blowing and some of the structural timber in the roofing is rotted out. There is no ceiling whatsoever as the leaking, rusty tin roof has destroyed it. Despite its state of disrepair, the classrooms continue to be used daily. Furthermore, the foundation of the building has major cement cancer, cracking and weakness due to the use of beach sand in the initial construction of the building and the level of salt content in the cement. They are still actually using the 4 classroom space but explain they don't feel safe! I agree and wouldn't want my boys in that space especially as there is a lot of wind and the timber looks rotted out in places."

The cost is USD65,000 (approx $97,000) (this is a good price considering that all materials and most of the tradespeople have to be brought from the mainland). We also have a container full of used Australian school furniture which would have otherwise been landfilled, about to be shipped to Timor which will be used for Maumeta School. Spend it Well is currently raising money for this project.

Inside one of Maumeta's classrooms
 
Maumeta School
 
Some of Maumeta's children

Learn more about the Maumeta project. See latest project photos and updates throughout the project

 



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