The Blue Mountains Trek for Timor fundraiser has been postponed until 2021 but organisers are working on a plan for people to still help under COVID-19 restrictions.
It was with great sadness the Blue Mountains Trek for Timor committee decided to postpone this year's fundraising event.
Chairperson Dave Ludenia said "in addition to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many of the tracks used for the trek have been damaged by the fires and heavy rain earlier in the year. At the end of the day it is with much regret, but necessary, to postpone the trek until we can be certain of delivering a quality and safe event for all involved".
Committee secretary Susan Ambler said that "at this time it is even more important that we support our projects in East Timor and we hope that you can join us by making a donation via the website www.trekfortimorbm.org.au - just click on the Donate button".
Ms Ambler also wanted to be clear that "we know times are tough in Australia too, so even if you're not able to donate at the moment please put yourself on our email list and we will keep you up to date with news from East Timor and the Trek committee".
"We are looking at organising a 'virtual' fundraising trek for later this year so you can still trek in your favourite local places and fundraise for Timor but within COVID-19 lockdown guidelines."
The Trek committee is calling for help now because, as project officer Jude Finch explained, "the committee are very worried about our friends in East Timor at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of a complete and well resourced health system and a lack of food sustainability through the winter months in the struggling young nation".
The Blue Mountains and Blue Mountains Trek for Timor have a friendship relationship with the equally mountainous, and also remote, Hatobuilico region of East Timor. Fundraising from previous treks has supported the establishment and growth of a local senior secondary school and the setting up of local women's development groups that are creating employment and leadership opportunities for women in the remote communities.
This year's Trek was to raise money for the these projects to continue to grow and prosper. The Hatobuilico Women's groups are continuing to train women in leadership and business skills to bring in much needed funds to their families and communities. The women have set up small businesses such as making clothes, growing vegetables for market and running a cafe to cater for the national and international tourists who come to the region to climb the sacred Mount Ramelau. The senior secondary school and scholarships are supporting young people from this remote region to remain in secondary school and to study at university and gain skills that they are bringing back to the region.
Dave Ludenia said "thank you to all those who have trekked, volunteered, donated and otherwise supported the Trek in previous years, we look forward to joining together with you again for another Trek, and don't forget to keep in touch with us and with East Timor in the meantime at www.trekfortimorbm.org.au ".