sábado, 26 de janeiro de 2013

President of the Republic visits Topu Honis Mahata orphanage

Foto, Presidência da República de Timor-Leste - Facebook
Oecusse, 24 January 2013: The President of the Republic Taur Matan Ruak, accompanied by the First Lady and some members of the Government, this Thursday participated in a Thanksgiving Mass at Santo António Church in Oecusse, followed by a visit to Topu Honis Mahata orphanage in Oecusse Vila. NGO Topu Honis Mahata, led by an American priest, Richard Daschbach, first arrived in Oecusse in 1986 focused on the orphans of Oecusse. The Head of State was deeply impressed by the orphanage's conditions and thanked Father Richard Daschbach for his dedication to the Timorese people, especially during the occupation.

President Matan Ruak recalled that in 1999, Fr. Daschbach, watching the violence towards the Oecusse people, at the hands of pro]Indonesia militia, wrote a letter to FALINTIL’s Commander in Chief, who is now the President of the Republic. The priest glued the letter to the sole of a pair of sandals which he handed over to a local resident called Lafu who was to wear the sandals on his journey to cross the border and deliver a letter from Fr. Daschbach requesting the presence of INTERFET in Oecusse, in an attempt to stop destruction and intimidation by the militias. As soon as he arrived in Batugade, Lafu was taken to Uaimori, where he met Taur Matan Ruak. A few days later, INTERFET forces entered Oecusse.

During the visit, the children of the orphanage asked for computers. The Head of State said he could not promise them but that he would try.

In the afternoon, the Head of State and his delegation met with OCRN, an organization of former combatants, in Oecusse Vila. The Head of State urged OCRN to support national development, and asked specifically Oecusse veterans not to cause division among themselves.

The President appealed to all veterans in Timor to think of what their contribution to the country will be and highlighted that it is important that veterans help the State solve any issues related to former combatants through the Veterans’ Council, which was specially established for this purpose.

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