Riak Retreat

"Australian and Timor-Leste Veterans Project"

On 17 September 2018 the Patron of Boaventura University, Falintil Commander Riak Leman, bequeathed 5 Hectares of the land of the University to Australian Veterans to be utilized by Australian and Timor-Leste Veterans as a retreat and training facility. 

Riak Retreat is a project initiated and funded by Australian veterans in the development of a multi-purpose education facility on the south coast of Timor-Leste. The retreat is a collaboration between Australian and Timorese veterans, strengthening people to people relations, fighting poverty, contributing to economic development and peace and stability for future generations in Timor-Leste.


The retreat is an extension of the Timor Awakening Program, providing a focus for Australian Veterans to raise money, volunteer and learn the benefits of giving and serving others, especially those less fortunate. The project is located amongst the communities that supported Australian Commandos in World War 2 and is considered a key part of Australia’s debt of honour to the people of Timor-Leste.


The primary focus of Riak Retreat is an English language school; a centre for teaching and learning of the english language for rural poor Timorese, combined with vocational education and practical life skills. Riak Retreat is situated on 5 hectares gifted to Australian veterans by the veterans of Timor-Leste, in the vicinity of a VET university built by Timor-Leste Veterans, called the Boa-Ventura University Timor-Leste (UBTL), located between the villages of Same and Betano on the Timor-Leste south coast.


The foundation document for the project was the “Australian and Timor-Leste Veterans ‘Riak Retreat’ Project Outline, dated 22 May 2019”. This plan was used as the key fundraising platform and to date approximately AU$200,000.00 has been raised by Australian veterans, companies and families of Australian veterans with a vast amount of construction and capability completed since conception, as can be seen below in the Riak Retreat Update Report, 1 October 2020.  The detailed plan and budget for 2020 and fundraising goals and plans are outlined in this update report. Riak Retreat has been a huge success that has already made a marked impact on the lives of many of the poorest Timorese. The project is providing a language school like no other in rural Timor-Leste and is a beacon of hope and good will linking Australia and Timor-Leste. The end state of this project will have a constant flow of Australians, including Australian veterans and schools, visiting and volunteering at Riak Retreat learning about our rich history and friendship with the people of Timor-Leste. The enduring investment in education of the rural poor of Timor-Leste will support regional economic development and supply motivated, determined and able English speaking workers that can flow into the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program, a win-win program for Timorese workers and Australian industry. 

VCA have in place MOUs with the TL/Australia Veteran Friendship Association and with AHHA/SOLSs education, with support from the TL Mission in Australia, enabling us to continue our development work in Timor-Leste despite travel restrictions. Since Covid19 lockdowns in TL we have established a 50m fresh water well/bore, piped fresh water irrigation to the school precinct and village, built a sanitation block and almost finished building a 20m x 8m building. 

Fundraising target 2020/2021


Completion/equipping of Classroom Building:                                                           US$8,000.00

Completion/equipping of Kitchen:                                                                                   US$8,000.00

Completion/equipping Dormitories:                                                                                US$12,000.00

Vehicles (1 x utility for on site, 1 x people mover for commuting to Dili):            US$27,000.00

Teachers Accommodation:                                                                                                US$15,000.00

Visitors Accommodation:                                                                                                    US$60,000.00

Military History Museum in ANZAC Hall and remembrance garden:                  US$10,000.00

Establish Animal Husbandry and Agriculture Facility                                             US$10,000.00


Total fundraising target for 2021 development:                                                         US$150,000.00


Donation bank transfer details:     

Account Name:  VCA AUSSIE VETERANS RETREAT      BSB: 034 061      Account Number: 433059    


Please contact Mick with questions - michael@veteranscare.com.au

©2018 by Timor Awakening. Designed by MS