The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste : Mrs.Leopoldina Joana Guterres
Mrs. Leopoldina, age 49, was born in the city of Baguia, Baucau province. After graduating from high school, she was trained as a teacher and started to teach at elementary school level. Later on, she became a teacher at the Baguia Catholic St. Joseph School from 1995 to 1999 while completing a bachelor’s degree in education and Portuguese Language from the University of Dili. Currently, she is the Director of S. José Basic Education Central School, which comprises of 7 school branches with the total of 822 students and 55 teachers.
Mrs. Leopoldina is an exceptional School Director because she has to manage and coordinate with all 7 satellite schools, organize training for teachers; promoting activities in the Central School and school branches; organizing extra-curricular activities; building relationships with other schools through sports, music, drawing, drama, cultural dance, and raising money for the school’s volunteer teachers. In addition to being the school director, she also taught Portuguese Language to students in grades 8 and 9 (15 hours per week) and functioned as a class instructor every year until 2002.
She is a connector that brings in external supports, so that the remote location is not a barrier for her school. She led fundraising activities for students’ scholarships, the school’s renovation and utilities and school resource such as electrical systems, water tanks, class supplies, computers, sport facilities and music instruments. She also organizes English language courses and provides computers for people in the community.
Ms.Leopoldina speaks five languages, Makasae, Tetum, Indonesian, Portuguese and English. She participated in many national and international conferences. She served as the presenter in several major events for Timor Leste such as “With One Seed”; “Role of the Women in Education of Family, School, and Community” in Australia; and “Development of Rural Areas through International Friendship” at an international conference in Dili, and etc.