MOU Marks Multicultural Understanding
The City of Melville’s new friendship relationship with the sub-district of Hatolia in East Timor was formalised last month with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The City of Melville last year extended its relationship with Lete-foho in East Timor’s highlands to a new alliance with the nation’s Hatolia community, in the Ermera region. This led to community group Melville Friends of Lete-foho changing its name to Melville Friends of Lete-foho and Hatolia Inc (MFLH). Two representatives of the group, Ari and Wendy Antonovsky, visited Hatolia for the MOU-signing ceremony on 17 August 2009. This follows the City’s initial friendship with Lete-foho being sealed through an MOU signed in October 2005.
Supported by the City of Melville, the group consists mainly of local residents, who work tirelessly fundraising and going through informal channels to determine the local needs of the struggling community. The MFLH’s prime commitment is to education in East Timor.
Coordinator Neighbourhood Support Marcia Coelho said the MOU was written in three languages – English, Portuguese and Tetum – and was signed by the Hatolia Administrator, Mr Vitor do Santos, and Mayor Russell Aubrey. “As part of the celebrations, the traditional Tais (textiles) were presented to Mr and Mrs Antonovsky,” she said.
“The visit was also extended to the Hatolia secondary and middle schools, where four second-hand laptops donated by the City of Melville were received with much appreciation. Future projects include a commitment of $15,000 by MFLH to the extension of the Hatolia Senior High School in order to add two new classrooms,” she said.
Mayor Russell Aubrey said the City of Melville had a relationship with the Lete-foho and Hatolia administration, and the MFLH had a relationship with the community. “These friendships are based on mutual respect and cooperation and work at two distinct levels: administration to administration and community to community,” he said. “The purpose is for Melville to assist the community through aid and development programs, while the friendship also encourages cultural exchange between East Timor and Australia.”
For further information about the group’s activities, please contact Marcia Coelho on phone 9364 0660 or email email@example.com.