Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: February 14, 2020

TIMOR-LESTE: 3 Salesian schools have tables and chairs thanks to Salesian Missions partnership with IRN

The furniture shipment ensures that students are learning in a comfortable classroom setting where they can focus on their studies.   

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Feb. 13, 2020) Salesian programs in Timor-Leste have new school furniture thanks to a donation made possible by an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and IRN (Institution Recycling Network). IRN matches surplus items with organizations and people who need them. The donation, which was received in October 2019, included 295 tables and chairs.

Blessed Philip Rinaldi Junior High School in Venilale received 100 items while 50 went to the Don Bosco Senior High School of Laga. The remaining items were sent to Saint Francis of de Sales Philosophy Institution in Dili Comoro.

Blessed Philip Rinaldi Junior High School provides a foundation of education for students to advance to higher levels of learning. The school accommodates up to 200 students but some of the facilities are old and destroyed. The furniture from IRN will ensure students are learning in a good educational environment.

The Don Bosco Senior High School of Laga recently built an additional building, supported by the Australian Salesian Mission Overseas Fund, to accommodate the increased enrollment of students who are accessing this rural school. The school needed furniture to prepare the classroom.

Similarly, St. Francis of de Sales Philosophy Institution is a new Salesian school that required furniture to complete its classrooms. Salesian missionaries in Timor-Leste are grateful to both IRN and Salesian Missions for ensuring that students are able to learn in a comfortable environment.

“Having tables and chairs and the proper environment in the classroom gives our students dignity and allows them to better focus on their lessons,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “We are grateful for IRN and the ongoing partnership we have had to send much needed furniture to Salesian schools and programs.”

IRN was started in 1999 to match surplus items that need to be recycled with organizations and people who need them. Every educational, commercial and healthcare organization in the U.S. has surplus furniture and equipment. Hundreds of millions of people living in poverty or recovering from natural disasters worldwide are in desperate need of the kinds of surplus goods these very organizations are discarding. IRN makes the match and facilitates the distribution of the surplus into the hands of the organizations and people who need it most.

Salesian missionaries are known for their education programs for youth around the globe. With countless elementary, secondary and university level educational centers as well as training and certification programs, Salesian missionaries are helping to provide a direct path out of poverty for many youth and their families. Programs rely on donations such as those provided by IRN to keep facilities functional for students and staff.

Timor-Leste is home to 1.1 million people and according to the Human Development Index, the country ranked 132 out of 189 for life expectancy, access to education and standard of living in 2018. The World Bank estimates that Timor-Leste has close to 49 percent of its population living in poverty with over one-third of the population regularly experiencing food shortages. In addition, close to 50 percent of the population is illiterate.

Salesian missionaries in Timor-Leste have been providing programs to help residents recover and rebuild in the wake of a devastating civil war in the country that claimed countless lives, decimated entire communities and resulted in living conditions that are among the worst in the world. Now that the violence has subsided, efforts are being focused on helping the poor, restoring hope and providing new opportunities for the future.


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