Balibo Community Centre
Balibó Community Learning Centre (known to many as Balibó House or The Australian Flag House) is a centre of excellence for education in Balibó. The centre hosts a memorial room dedicated to the Balibó Five and the local people killed during the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste.
The building was refurbished by Balibó House Trust and gifted to the community in October 2003. Balibó CLC has been responsive to the needs of the local community; at times they have delivered practical training in textiles, motor mechanics, carpentry and woodworking.
With the guidance of our PALMS volunteer, Michele Rankin, the CLC currently is developing a mechanics workshop and a café. There is also a gift shop selling craft produced by a local women’s cooperative.
The CLC is led by a local Community Management Committee and focusses on building the skills that will help the people of Balibó participate in the emerging Timorese economy, including tourism, hospitality, agriculture, construction and community development.
The Trust employs four people from the local area to assist in the management of the CLC.
Funding from DFAT’s Friendship Grant program allowed us to train 10 locals to become tour guides and develop guided walking tours in the Balibo district. This initiative will enhance the tourism opportunities already provided by the Balibo Fort Hotel and provide training and employment for local people. The funds were used to map trails and train local guides in tour leadership, basic first aid and track maintenance.
Additional funding from the Victorian government allowed us to extend this tourism offer to include purchase of mountain bikes, helmets and spare parts and training for the guides in bike maintenance and repair.
Balibo Trails is a co-operative of local guides from the 6 villages in the Sub District of Balibo, Timor-Leste. Balibo Trails guides use their local knowledge of culture, geography, nature, history and tradition to create a unique travel experience.
Each Balibo trail is an opportunity to experience something special about Balibo and there is a Balibo trail for everyone; short walks, long hikes, easy cycling or off the road mountain biking.
Every trail begins and ends at the magnificent Balibo Fort Hotel.