East Timor Religious Outreach: Annual Scholarship Appeal

September 11, 2020

1183 B Street, Hayward, CA 94541
Telephone: 510-270-8399; email: easttim@jps.net

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I am writing to you cooped up at home in the midst of a devastating plague, raging wildfires, millions of people losing their jobs, and police killings of unarmed Black people is disheartening.  Yet as I think of your compassion for forgotten “little people” living in a tiny faraway country, my spirits are lifted and I rejoice.  Your help dispels the gloom. 
Ready for some good news?  Life expectancy in East Timor has increased from 59 years in 2000, when the Indonesian armed forces departed, to just under 70 years today. 

East Timor remains one of the youngest nations in the world, with 45% of the population of 1.27 million being under 18 years of age.  Three-quarters of its population is 35 years old or younger.   The country is so young because 30% of its people died as a result of the Indonesian military’s brutal occupation.    

In line with last year’s ETRO update, Dr. Clinton Fernandes emphasizes that Timor-Leste’s young demographic presents both opportunities and challenges for the future:
“A credible estimate is that 80% of youth are not formally employed and 25% are not looking because they are discouraged by the difficulty of finding work.  Private sector development and traditional employment alone is unlikely to supply the 15,000 new jobs needed every year. 
Education and training will be crucial during the so-called fourth industrial revolution, which is taking place now.  The fourth industrial revolution is a digital revolution, characterized by a fusion of technologies that blur the lines among the physical, digital and biological spheres.  Because of Timor-Leste’s tragic history, most of its people have not yet benefitted from the first three industrial revolutions, and most villages still rely on low technology.  
It is important to focus on education and training for people 15-34 or younger so that they may create sustainable livelihoods. 

Progress has been made, but a lot more needs to be accomplished in the long haul. 

As in years past, East Timor Religious Outreach educational scholarships benefit poor students from small, more remote and poorly served parts of the country.    

The funds collected for Timorese youth and young adults are split fifty-fifty between our two ecumenical partners: the Protestant Church in East Timor (Igreja Protestante iha Timor Lorosae), and the Salesian Sisters Vocational School for Girls located in the rural mountain village of Venilale.  

Please make your tax-deductible donations payable to “Hayward First United Methodist Church,” earmarked for “East Timor” on the memo line.  There is no administrative overhead.   

I am grateful beyond measure for your strong sense of purpose, good humor, and steadfast support.  Thank you!  You inspire me. 
Yours in the struggle for hope, justice, and peace,
Rev. John Chamberlin, National Coordinator                                           
East Timor Religious Outreach