A SMART-looking Christmas has arrived early in East Timor, with lots of needy children sharing a great parcel of hope.
More than 1600 shoe boxes were collected from Tewantin, Cooroy, Coolum and Pacific Paradise state schools and filled with educational resources for Timor Leste children.
These boxes were distributed at Sao Miguel school at Raikotu, which has 150 kindergarten students, 250 of primary age and about 200 junior high school kids.
Importantly, the surrounding area of need includes hundreds more children.
With the help of the Community Bank branches of Bendigo Bank in Cooroy, Marcoola and Tewantin and the Rotary Clubs of Noosa and Cooroy, the school was identified as a community school with no help from the ministry of education in Timor.
Each parcel took the form of a decorated shoe box with enclosed items including exercise books, rulers, erasers, pens and pencils, all topped off with a personal item from students from the three state schools to the child opening it at the other end. Bendigo Bank and Rotary shared the shipment costs because both organisations saw an opportunity to support a cause that would instil a sense of responsibility into each student who compiled these special gifts.
Tewantin State School principal Corrie Connors said learning of the arrival of the shoe boxes had brought an emotional reaction from students.
She said to the hundreds of students who got involved at the school, the spirit of the project had really hit home in anticipation of seeing the presentation of the shoe boxes arriving.
"The students and our school all have a real connection to this project,” Mrs Connors said.
"They had a ball putting the care parcels together and it's great to see the collective efforts of the kids, their families and the teams at Bendigo Bank put those shoe boxes into the hands of the kids who need them most.
"Every shoe box was personally decorated and had educational items to further the education of a child less fortunate than themselves. Each student also enclosed something small of theirs, such as a soft toy or tennis ball.”
Tewantin Community Bank branch manager Wayne Hoens said the project continued to build on something special.
"Our Community Banks are all about giving back and in this case the community recipients have been international ones,” Mr Hoens said.
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