OzGREEN programs connect youth with communities to become leaders of innovative sustainable social change

I could not have done it without you!

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have helped with the Oecusse, Sustainable Villages Project over the last 15 years. Your funds have saved lives, improved lives, provided a future for many, provided education, encouraged leadership and built sustainability into communities.

The project could not have been done without you, thank you for your funds, goods and materials, advice, mental support when the going got tough, kind words, smiles and hugs when needed! 

Donorthanks.docx.jpgThe Penn Foundation has been a fantastic supporter for many years they also support the very famous Doctor Dan and the Birio Pite Clinic in Dili.

From the words of a supporter

Mark Penn from the Penn Foundation, a long-term supporter of OzGREEN and GREEN TL, says that Judy is one of the most inspiring people he’s ever met. "Judy is one of those rare gems – there is nothing in it for her apart from the fact she is helping people." He adds that "it’s her passion and the sustainable nature of the work she does that made it an easy decision to support the organisation".

The Penn Foundation was established in 2005 by Mark’s parents, Richard and Heather Penn, who were motivated to help the community after having had successful business careers. Mark and his brother Scott are also involved with the Foundation so each family member brings different ideas to the table about which organisations to support.

Mark says, "While our personal passions play a role, our family assesses an organisation’s goals and strategies when making a funding decision. We also look at who they are helping, whether they are being smart in what they do, and whether their work provides long-term solutions. In the case of GREEN TL, they ticked all the boxes and we are passionate about helping the Timorese people."

charitablefoundation.jpgThe Charitable Foundation is a family foundation established by Steve Killelea following a successful global high tech business career. Through the family’s travels, they witnessed the struggles of the world’s poor and dedicated TCF to substantially help as many people as possible from among the poorest of the poor.

Over the last 15 years TCF has partnered with a diverse group of Australian and overseas non-governmental organizations to deliver a broad range of timely, practical, sustainable and cost-efficient projects.

TCF has funded several OzGREEN projects in Oecusse, mainly Village Environmental Action Planning in Bocosse and Bona. 

manlyfriends.pngManly Friends of Oecusse (MFOO) is a community-based volunteer group committed to building an enduring friendship through genuine partnerships between the people of Oecusse and the people of Sydney’s Northern Beaches.manlycouncil.jpg Formed in 2008 to support and enhance at community level the formal Friendship Agreement signed by Manly Council and the District of Oecusse, MFOO works to raise awareness about Oecusse and to support community-based projects led by people in Oecusse.

MFOO and Manly Council currently support GREEN TL’s clean water project and the Youth in Action GREEN Games; Topu Honis and Kutete Safe House for young people run by the amazing Father Richard and PRADET an organization which helps victims of domestic violence. 

Schools on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

I have been invited into many schools to talk about Timor Leste in regards to Human Society and It’s Environment, Equitability and Justice and Global and Local Water Issues. Having a background in teaching has given me the classroom experience to be able to communicate quite well with students of all ages – primary to secondary. Talking in schools serves two purposes – raising awareness about the problems facing people from developing countries such as Timor Leste and of course students help raise much needed funds to support the Sustainable Villages project.

Working with school students is a delight as there are always those who ask very meaningful and pertinent questions and show a great deal of compassion for those less fortunate than themselves. Some young students, understandably, living in a lucky country like Australia, have no concept of problems faced by many people in the world today eg, one young boy who asked me “If the water is that bad in their house why don’t they go to their local coffee shop for a drink?” Northern Beaches of Sydney?
Thank you to the following schools, their students and staff who have helped raise awareness and funds for Oecusse;

  • Balgowlah Heights Primary School
  • Barrenjoey High School
  • Beaumont Rd Public School
  • Harbord Public School
  • Killara High School
  • Kinma
  • Manly Selective Secondary School
  • Manly Vale Public School
  • Ryde Secondary College
  • St Kevin’s Catholic Primary School

Several other schools, MacKellar Girls High and Epping Boys High have expressed interest in becoming involved with the project in 2017. 

rotaryaustralia.pngRotary is an amazing worldwide organisation, set up by Paul Harris in Chicago in 1905. It has now grown to become a global service organisation providing assistance in disaster relief, humanitarian aid to the world’s poor, is eradicating polio and encourages the advancement of international understanding through global networks.

I am lucky enough to have had my project, Sustainable Villages, registered on the RAWCS website and this has engendered support from various clubs throughout Australia, most particularly from the Sydney region. I thank Balgowlah, Brookvale, Epping and Gladesville Clubs which have given vital, on-going support for several years and Pitwater, Belrose, Randwick, Nelson Bay, Salamander Bay, Rowville-Lysterfield (Vic.) and Ballajura-Malaga (WA), who have donated funds and helped some of my young neighbours in Oecusse, successfully, go onto Tertiary Education, one is now a nurse, one has an Agriculture Business Degree and the other is a Fireman, another is about to commence an auto-mechanics course. All qualifications very helpful in Oecusse!

Many of these Rotarians have become good friends and I now belong to the Rotary e-club of Greater Sydney – an on-line club for people who can not attend regular meetings! As I said earlier “an amazing organisation.”


Ruth Boydell first went to Oecusse in 2002, because she was lucky enough to win a raffle which OzGREEN organised – first prize being a trip to Oecusse! I was lucky as well as she has become a great supporter of the project, donating regularly and always offering words of support and encouragement. She and her partner, Dave, are currently sailing the high seas on extended retirement holiday. One day soon I hope they make it to Oecusse as part of the annual Darwin to Dili Yacht Race.

David Palmer became a supporter after he did not win the raffle but was so keen to visit that he raised his own funds and came soon after Ruth. He has also been of great support – he set up a permaculture garden, encouraged my neighbours in Oecusse to do the same and helped in the early design of the bio-sand filtration units.

Michael and Denise Paine have been wonderful friends ever since I first met them at an OzGREEN meeting and way back in 1998! They have well and truly kept me sane on numerous occasions when things were going from bad to worse in Oecusse and the mobile phone, (satellite phone in the early days) became my lifeline! Denise encouraged the school where she teaches, Balgowlah Heights Public School, to become involved in the Oecusse project through World water Day. Recently Denise and I, with support from the staff and students, conducted a very successful School Environmental Management Plan. We hope to roll this out in other schools as the fees earned go towards the Oecusse Project. School Environmental Management Plans are now mandated by the NSW Department of Education and Training.

Peter Fitzsimons of Australian Rugby, Sydney Morning Herald fame and the author of many fascinating books on various aspects of Australian history. I do not know where to begin in thanking him as he is the most amazing, sincere, compassionate and busy person. He has a genuine concern for the people of Oecusse, especially the youth and is a major supporter of the Youth in Action GREEN Games. I thought he would be intimidating to meet as he must be 10 foot tall, topped off by a red bandana but no he is genuine, down to earth and encourages me to tell my stories about Timor Leste. I thank him for his support, encouragement and giving me moments of his time in his very busy schedule.

Gabi Curwood was one of the good things which came out of my volunteer stint with Australian Volunteers Abroad in 2009. She and I met at the orientation session in Melbourne as she was volunteering with Hyam Health in Dili, an organisation which supports malnourished children after they are discharged from hospital. We struck up a friendship immediately as we had much in common at the time and this friendship has strengthened since. It is good to have someone to talk to who has actually been to Timor Leste and Oecusse as it is hard for others to understand the limitations and difficulties of working in such a place. Gabi now lives near Bellingen (of all places) having moved from Canberra to be closer to her son and daughter in law.

Kate Laughlan has recently become a supporter after we met in Oecusse earlier this year. She happened to be in Oecusse on holiday – one of the few tourists who have visited – when several Rotarians were there to see the Sustainable Villages Project so she happily joined us on the trips to outlying villages. I introduced her to a young neighbour of mine who is very keen to study auto mechanics in Dili, Kate has agreed to help fund a scholarship for him.

Many others have donated over the years – buying trees, pigs, water pots and books as Christmas gifts, donating clothes, soccer boots and hats, even my local chemist has donated medications suitable for Oeucusse. Thank you all – you are all wonderfully kind and thoughtful.