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 Timor Leste (East Timor)

■Meeting President Ramos-Horta (2010/07/28)

In the morning of 6th July, local staff suddenly told that he got a call from staff of presidential office and we could meet the President at 10 a.m. It made me confused. Actually we applied for meeting the President before President of KnK Japan Ms. Terada and Director General Mr. Dominique visited Timor-Leste in May. But I thought application was already cancelled after Ms. Terada and Mr. Dominique had left to Japan. In reality, the local staff, who I asked to cancel the application, forgot to withdraw it. I really wondered if an ordinary NGO worker was allowed to meet President. However, it was a golden opportunity for us to meet and talk to the President. We explained that both president and director general of KnK had left to Japan and asked for permission to change the members who visit the President. After the change was allowed, two Japanese expatriates and one local staff visited presidential office. ?

While I got ready quickly, I wondered what I should talk, what I should bring, how I should dress and so on. Then we rushed to presidential office. After we entered, there was no specific procedure. Around 10:30 a.m. we were allowed to entre the office of President. When we entered his office, the President wore a severe expression. It heightened my tension, so that I do not remember well what and how I talked when I explained KnK itself and summary of its activities in Timor-Leste to the President. I clearly remember that the President asked questions about English course one after another, for example ‘Why Japanese NGO support English course?’, ‘Who is teaching?’, ‘How is the capacity of teachers?’, ‘How much participants acquired English?’ and so on. From the middle of meeting, he smiled a lot and told a joke when I introduced a local staff to him. The president told him ‘Are you Timorese? You really look Japanese!’. We gave KnK’s postcards, which includes photos of Timorese children and pictures drawn by children in Timor-Leste, to the Presidents as a present. Then, finally we took a photo with the President, to remind us of the occasion as he kindly allowed that.

As the President mentioned, the capacity of teachers is extremely important in a field of education. Teachers who do not have enough experience in teaching do not know what kind of textbooks they use or how they run a class even if they speak English well. Recruitment of teachers and training for them are one of the issues that our project has to deal with. As a catchword of KnK JAPAN ‘Growing together’, this project does not just give an opportunity to obtain an education for children and youth but also should enable teachers to develop their own abilities through teaching their students. Meeting the President made me make a fresh determination to carry out such project.



Yoko Mizutani, Project Coordinator

 
 
 
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