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A father’s dedication to his children’s education in Timor-Leste

Florencio is a loving father to three children in Lautem, Timor-Leste. Every morning he walks his children to school, drops them off, waves goodbye, and then goes to work on the village farm. He is back at the school every afternoon in time to pick his children up.

His eldest son is in the second grade and his second son is just starting at a preschool supported by ChildFund Timor-Leste. Florencio has a reputation amongst the community for being very passionate about his two sons receiving a quality education in Timor-Leste.

Florencio pictured with his youngest son.

Every morning he can be seen smiling walks his sons to school. Florencio was only able to complete a middle school education until he was pulled out to focus on generating an income to help support his family. But now he wants a better future for his children.

“He is one of the best fathers. I don’t know how he manages it with his work on the farm, but he comes to school every day to wait for his children to finish. Only after that will he go tend to work or other chores,” said a volunteer teacher at the school. 

Last year, he was recognised by the school for his dedication to his children’s education in Timor-Leste. This is the first time this award has been given out. In a community where traditional gender roles are entrenched in daily life, it is unique for fathers to be so heavily involved in their children’s education.

The boys’ mother stays home with their third child, who is four years old. “For me, the most important thing is my children, I share work with my wife, my wife takes care of our third child, and I take the kids to school every day. Every important thing that I must do I always do it after my children come back from school,” said Florencio.

ChildFund has supported the local preschool by providing basic learning supplies and running information sessions with the community to demonstrate the importance of early childhood education in Timor-Leste and encouraging parents to send their children to preschool.

Florencio’s oldest son, Arjun, is one of the top students in his grade. Florencio makes time to sit and study with his children twice a day – usually around dinner time. He will read magazines with them to help them with literacy and they’ll play games together supplied by ChildFund at the preschool.

Florencio thinks that the support from organisations like ChildFund is vital to making sure more children attend and stay in school. He says that through ChildFund, he learned more about why childhood education is important for his children, particularly early childhood education.

He says that children who have graduated from the ChildFund supported preschool are always some of the best students. “Preschool prepares children and helps them be more confident learners. They have a head start in reading and the alphabet which is very important for all children because their minds are so open at that age.”

“My dream to all my children is for them to have success in every way they choose. I had a dream for one of them to become a teacher and military because I want my kid to be part of the Government and to keep teaching what they know to others,” said Florencio.

Learn more about how ChildFund Timor-Leste is working with local partners and communities to improve access to early childhood education.

You can also support early childhood education and make a difference to the lives of children in need. Consider donating one of our educational Gifts for Good, such as a school supplies set or a scholarship for a child. You can also sign up to donate monthly to ChildFund Australia, enabling us to support many more children to go to school and to stay there.

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