Oan Kiak Scholarship Trust Fund


Oan Kiak Scholarship Trust Fund- Australia – Timor-Leste

Perhaps one of the most significant of activities that ETDA carries out in terms of providing study opportunities is managing the Oak Kiak Scholarship Fund. Between 1990 and 1992, two Australians, Tom Nisbett and Patsy Thatcher, journeyed to the Indonesian colony of “Timur Timor” and returned to their home country determined to help change the lives of the orphans they saw. In collaboration with the Timorese Association of Victoria, they began the Oan-Kiak Scholarship Trust Fund with the express purpose of educating the orphans of East Timor

In 2002, Oan Kiak Scholarship Trust Fund signed an agreement with ETDA to manage its affairs in Timor-Leste. Oan-Kiak (which literally means poor child in Tetum) was initially set up in 1992 with seed money obtained from the sale of compact discs that member of the Timorese, Australian and Irish rock industries donated, as well as with a major bequest from Colin Doig.

On an annual basis the Oan-Kiak Board Members meet to review the selection criteria, update the status of the scholarships and ensure the financial stability of the Trust. Costs of the scholarship vary between level of schooling and the school itself.

Currently there are 211 students sponsored although there are about 603 students on the database. From the period of 2003 to 2013 there have been 195 students who have passed through their education to finish Secondary School. The awardees are located in 10 districts such as: Dili, Aileu, Ermera, Same, Suai, Lauten, Liquica, Baucau, Viqueque and Oecussi. The scholarship recipients are distributed in equal thirds between primary, high school and senior high schools. To date 15 awardees upon completion of high school have found employment in Dili and overseas.

An ETDA Oan-Kiak Field Officer visits the schools of scholarship recipients four times a year to pay the appropriate school fees and meet with the orphans who are funded. At this time, the officer also checks the orphan’s school results, and touches base with the school director or teacher, ensuring that the scholarship recipient is not facing any major learning difficulties. While the requirement has been simply based on attendance it is anticipated that 2014 will review the conditions of the scholarship to a more performance-based scholarship.


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