Just Like Family

She was there to share copywriting skills with the Agape School of the Deaf in Timor Leste but SIV Student Fellow Fu Kai Li had the privilege of getting up close with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão at the Dili Marathon and the leader’s own birthday celebration.

…explaining what has made my stay so special, I believe it has not been the exceptional events I’ve had the privilege of attending, but the people with whom I’ve spent these precious weeks…have somehow managed to take an entirely foreign experience and made me feel like I am with family.”SIV Student Fellow Fu Kai Li


Kai Li was in Timor Leste from 15 June to 31 July 2013. The 22- year-old is a Linguistics and Multilingual Studies student at Nanyang Technological University. She went there on a volunteer internship to contribute copywriting skills for the school’s annual year book. She also held a photo editing workshop for the teachers and students. During her time there, she was hosted by Ibu Wennie Fernandez and her family. Ibu Wennie is also the Principal of the Agape School for the Deaf.

The Singapore International Foundation’s Student Fellowship is a new initiative under the Singapore International Volunteer (SIV) programme started in 2012. Tertiary school students go on volunteer internships with host partner agencies. Upcoming internship opportunities are available in India, Cambodia and Laos at the end of 2013. To find out more, please email us at siv@sif.org.sg.

PM Xanana Gusmão high fives student runners at the finishing line of the Dili Marathon on the wet morning of 22 June.


PM Gusmão has lunch—boxes of cake and drinks he has specially catered—with the students.


Agape students and PM Gusmão making the sign for ‘I love you’ in sign language.


PM Gusmão celebrates his 67th birthday at his official residence with student guests from the Agape School of the Deaf.


Student Crecencia beams with joy.


For PM Gusmão’s birthday, the students put up a special musical performance that they had practised for weeks.


PM Xanana Gusmão distributes his birthday cake for his guests.


Students at the photo editing workshop I conducted were happy to learn and patiently took turns to use my camera and laptop.


A young Agape student practising his penmanship in the Beginners class.


Barbeque at the beach: On days off, members of the Agape Baptist Church (which the Agape school is under) take me with them on outings.


Agape staff member, Lino, grilling fish.


A great day for kite-flying.


And for enjoying the sea with a friend.


I had the chance to be guest on a radio show twice with a fellow Agape church member.


My students and I were recognized for our efforts in putting together the Agape yearbook and calendar.


For my farewell, the church purchased a goat.


Every part of it was cooked and we feasted for two nights.


Agape students, now my friends, came to see me off on my last day in Dili.

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