After witnessing the terrible events that followed the Referendum in East Timor in September 1999, the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation in Australia decided to establish a new Home in East Timor. The Home would provide relief for some of the thousands of sick and disabled East Timorese who suffered terribly in the arson, carnage and pillage.
Patients from rural areas requiring major medical treatment are transferred to the Dili Hospital. Many of these patients must remain at the Hospital in Dili even though they require only limited nursing or outpatient treatment. Examples are people who have been treated for tuberculosis and are on daily medication but do not need to be in an hospital bed. Similarly people who have had orthopaedic surgery or who are in plaster casts after breaking bones, do not need to occupy a bed, but they cannot return to their homes until the cast is removed. Also there are many malnourished children who require regular feeding and special care over weeks or months. Some patients stay for many months, occupying hospital beds that should be available to higher priority patients. Often the patients are accompanied by relatives who also need accommodation in Dili.
The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation established a Home in the village of Tibar, 17 kilometres west of Dili, to care for these patients and their relatives until they are can return to their villages. The new Home is part of a complex which was an existing Home for physically and mentally disabled people. Eighteen residents and sixteen staff were already accommodated at the Home and we have taken responsibility for these people. We transport the patients and residents to and from the Dili Hospital as necessary while they are in our care and often arrange transport for them to return to their villages. The new Home is called Klibur Domin Tibar, which in the local language (Tetum) means “Sharing Love at Tibar” - we consider this is a most appropriate name.
The 18 buildings in the Tibar complex were not destroyed after the Referendum and they are of sound structure. However, they needed a lot of work to repair damage done and to make them suitable for our needs. Victorian Rotary Clubs provided a team of volunteers to restore the buildings, working with local staff. We also needed to furnish and equip the Home before we took in the additional patients and residents. Most of the building material and supplies, along with household and personal items donated by people in Victoria, were loaded into a shipping container donated and transported to Dili by the Lions Club of Nunawading.
We admitted our first patients from the Dili Hospital in January 2001 and now accommodate a total of about 50 patients and residents, sometimes more. Volunteers from Australia have organised the setting up of the Home and were also managing it in the early stages of its operation. As of 2004 Klibur Domin is now managed and staffed by East Timorese people. International volunteers offer assistance, especially in areas where expertise is not available locally. In 2002 Klibur Domin embarked on a Project to train eleven East Timorese people in rehabilitation techniques. A graduate of this course currently works at Klibur Domin Tibar; and three students are currently being sponsored by Klibur Domin to study nursing and physiotherapy in Indonesia, and will work at Klibur Domin after they graduate. In 2006, due to a generous bequest, two trial projects have commenced. The first provides a mobile Tuberculosis Clinic, the second assists children with disabilities in their communities. These projects are now mainstream programs at Klibur Domin, and also encompass the training of local health volunteers in rural villages to ensure the programs are sustainable. In 2011, several new facilities were built including a new house for residents, a MDR-TB ward, and a respite centre for children with disabilities. Klibur Domin's three programs (Inpatient Care, TB and MDR-TB Treatment, and Community Based Rehabilitation for people with disabilities, particularly children) continue to thrive and are expected to expand in the future.
Klibur Domin looks forward to the years ahead and to the continued support from donors and partners to better the lives of those in our care.