The International Stabilisation Force (ISF) and the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) have partnered with the East Timorese Defence Force (F‑FDTL) and the United States Navy to reconstruct the Nu Laran school in Dili.
The Engineering Civic Action Program (ENGCAP) is one of many initiatives being conducted throughout Pacific Partnership 10, a US Fleet sponsored mission delivering medical, dental, engineering, and veterinary aid in South East Asia and Oceania.
Rebuilding Nu Laran, which commenced mid-July this year, has seen a dramatic improvement in the primary school’s classrooms, boundary fences, recreation areas and walkways.
ISF’s Engineering Liaison Officer, Captain Pete Maccheroni, from Brisbane’s Enoggera Barracks, said the task has been integral to improving education in the nation’s capital.
“When we first got here, at least half of the schools were untenable, they couldn’t hold any classes in them, they had to be held out in the open ground, now we will have children undercover and in a much more productive learning environment.”
“We are lucky in that we see tangible results from the projects that we perform, we get to see the smiling kids, they’re much more receptive, much happier and they want to come to school,” he said.
The ISF continue to mentor the F‑FDTL in trade skills such as carpentry, painting, plumbing, electrical work and plant operation.
ISF Combat Engineer, Corporal Andrew Clifford, also from Brisbane’s Enoggera Barracks, said the joint project is progressing very well.
“It’s been great working alongside the F‑FDTL again; they are incredibly skilled labourers, which has been a godsend to us on these sorts of construction sites. It gives me and all the engineers involved a great deal of satisfaction,” he said.
US Navy Seabees Engineering Officer, Lieutenant John Angle, said the coordination, planning and assistance during the project has been very strong.
“We’re only a small detachment, there are only a handful of us, but we’re ahead of schedule and have added in fences and concrete paths. It’s been outstanding working with the ISF and F‑FDTL,” he said.
Over 70 engineers have contributed to the Nu Laran reconstruction, which will be completed by September 15.
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