After a 3-year hiatus, and thanks to financial and practical support from a number of local groups, the Margaret River Leavers Experience has seen local students heading to Timor-Leste this month.
Team Leader Lynne Warren said Rotary Margaret River and the Lions Clubs of Leeuwin, Cowaramup and Margaret River set out to re-establish the program after past connections in Timor-Leste reached out.
"Colleagues and contacts in Timor-Leste indicated their interest in supporting our return by offering us projects identified by their communities," she said.
"This year we have ten very excited Year 12 students from Margaret River SHS participating in the experience in lieu of Schoolies.
"They will work along-side the Timorese people providing practical support to the communities and develop an understanding of Timorese culture. We also have three very excited adults, with Stephanie Kennaugh and Kyle Stewart joining the group."
Lynne said the student group had been working throughout the year to raise funds for the project.
"As well as contributing $1,800 for their airfares, they participated in Lions Garage Sales, wood raffles, other raffles and Farmer's Market BBQs," she said.
Students raised a total of $3,500, which will cover most of the work to help the 'Fundacao Lafaek Diak FLD' (Good Crocodile Foundation), a Maternal and Child Health Clinic in Baucau, in the north east of the country.
As well as Rotary and Lions support, Lynne said the project also received backing from other arms of the community.
"We have wonderful support with a donation of $500 from the sub-committee of Margaret River St John's Ambulance for the purchase of first aid equipment.
"Sewing ladies in the community have been busy making nearly 200 library bags for us to fill with goodies donated through our partnership with South Darwin Rotary Club - a total of 100 kgs.
"Down South Workwear kindly donated 25 hemp library bags."
The group will travel by local bus to Baucau, the second largest city in Timor-Leste, to work with staff at the Good Crocodile Foundation.
Once on site, the group will be tasked with painting two buildings housing child and maternal health clinics.
They will also visit schools, plant vegetables, visit a sacred water source and climb Mt Ariana as part of their cultural experience.