Sandra’s Story

Oct 27, 2022

We are proud to introduce you to Sandra. An alumni from the first school.

Sandra graduated in 2016 and returned voluntarily to teach Chemistry and Multimedia. But her incredible accomplishments don’t stop there. Sandra is simultaneously studying at university! She is furthering her Chemistry and Education studies with qualifications through the National University of Timor Leste, in Dili.

Sandra lived with her parents and thirteen siblings in the remote village of Letefoho; that you are now familiar with. The village had a small primary school, but not a full & comprehensive senior school; the closest being a 3-hour drive (not walk) away. Despite growing up in post-independent East Timor, Sandra was not afraid to dream big. She had a deep seeded love of learning. Her favourite subjects were English and Maths.

Sandra knew she faced multiple obstacles and challenges to continue her learning and follow her dreams. Having no reliable transport to sustainably access the closest senior school, Sandra felt confused and unmotivated. She had two disheartening options: to drop out of school or move far away from her family.

Fortunately, with the generosity of Australian donors and the support of Ornella, an existing badly run-down building was transformed to create Letefoho’s very own comprehensive senior school. There Sandra was able to continue her studies and continue living with her family. Being provided a better learning environment, quality teachers, and a full (year 7 to 12) bespoke curriculum, Sandra experienced a renewed hope for the future. She felt so passionately about her learning experience that she called it “the key that turns the mindset of people.”

Sandra’s father sadly passed away not long after she graduated high school. Sandra drew strength and courage from knowing her father was immensely proud of her achievements. She went on to enrol at the National University of East Timor, while also helping to support her family. Today, Sandra is 22 years old, she’s continuing her tertiary studies, and has returned to Letefoho Senior School as a volunteer teacher.

Sandra is fulfilling her dreams; they are a reality through the gift of education! Her younger siblings follow in Sandra’s footsteps too. Together they are moving toward a prosperous future.