TIMOR AWAKENING PROGRAM
Timor Awakening (TA) is a programme of renewal and rehabilitation for Australian and Timorese Veterans founded in 2016. Key elements of the program include: holistic health education, personal & group engagement, pastoral care, mentoring, historical commemoration and more, centred around an 11-day immersion experience in Timor-Leste. To date over 130 Australian Veterans and hundreds of Timorese Veterans have taken part in Timor Awakening.
In a country born out of trauma, hope and resilience, the peaceful, spiritual and breathtaking Timor-Leste provides a backdrop for healing and renewal. The multitude of activities creates a bonded group that will remain connected through each other’s journey of healing and growth. The overarching theme of hope, forgiveness and purpose is a feature through dozens of activities. Despite a troubled and traumatic past, the Timor Awakening experience is testament to veterans that there is hope, and with purpose and support, a positive and healthy future is possible.
AUSTRALIAN VETERANS SCHOLARSHIP
The Australian Veterans Scholarship Timor-Leste (AVSTL) provides vocational educational scholarships for direct descendants of Timorese Veterans. The AVSTL is an initiative of Australian Veterans in solidarity with the people of Timor-Leste, contributing to Australia’s ‘Debt of Honour’.
In WW2 many Timorese gave everything they had, 60,000 lost their lives, for the survival & mission of stranded Australian soldiers. Since 1999, Australian soldiers have been provided similar hospitality, security and friendship, on operations and as returning veterans. Australian and Timorese Veterans stand united, with hope and conviction, for a future that is bright, just, and peaceful for the next generation of both our countries.
SOLIDARITY AND FRIENDSHIP WITH TIMOR-LESTE VETERANS
Australian and Timor-Leste Veterans share a special bond. Our joint forefathers defied gravity in WW2 evading capture and mounting a successful campaign against far numerically superior invading forces. The bond was forged with blood, sweat, tears, respect and friendship. In WW2 many Timorese gave everything they had, 60,000 lost their lives, for the survival & mission of stranded Australian soldiers. Since 1999, Australian soldiers have been provided similar hospitality, security and friendship, on operations and as returning veterans. Out of the ashes of 1999 and the darkness of decades of unjust foreign policy, Australian and Timorese Veterans stand united, with hope and conviction, for a future that is bright, just, and peaceful for the next generation of both peoples.
"Extremely beneficial. A truly cleansing, emotional journey towards achieving my identified objectives in my personal health and wellbeing plan."
"I’m now proud of what I’ve done – I can finally come home."
TA1, July 2016
“Timor Awakening is such a proper name for this experience. It awoke my senses again, brought me joy, laughter and a sense of pride”
“I use to blame everyone else, now I can forgive myself”
TA2, Sep 2016
"I have got off the couch and am cleaning up my property and restoring my dignity"
"I have rediscovered my identity as a veteran and have become active in my RSL Sub branch"
TA3, Feb 2017
“It has assisted me with looking at what is needed to improve my life and wellbeing. And to eliminate the negativity in my life.”
“Staff & participants were all attentive to the needs of others & the group as a whole … The power & emotion of revisiting Timor was something I hadn’t expected to affect me, a very worthwhile exercise.”
TA4, May 2017
“Timor Awakening experience is a great way to sort out your problems by showing you how to move forward… I have a clearer sense of what I need to do to improve my state of mind/situation.”
“The experience has shaken my perspective on first world issues…I need to change the way I view my problems and turn them into projects.”
TA5, September 2017