In Leotala, a tiny mountaintop village in Timor-Leste, a community recently gathered to celebrate their friendship with another island nation thousands of miles away – New Zealand. Since 1999, New Zealand has played a key role in international efforts to restore peace and encourage progress in Timor Leste.

Many New Zealanders, including police officers, continue to contribute to the country’s development, giving them a unique insight into the challenges facing Timorese people. The generous support of members of the New Zealand Police recently helped ChildFund to provide locally-made desks and chairs for a preschool in Leotala with 34 students. ChildFund also installed a playground at the preschool and provides training for the teacher.

Representatives from the New Zealand Police were welcomed warmly when they visited the preschool with traditional dancing and singing. One of the parents said, ‘I feel good because all the children can use the desks and chairs. Before it was difficult to write, but now they will learn.’

Superintendent John Spence addressed the parents, saying, ‘One day, after a good education, some of you will visit New Zealand. And like you have made us welcome today, we will make you welcome too.’

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