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Sydney, NSW Education & Training

About BETTER Timor

At the age of 14, Ornella Byak left her life in Australia to visit her closest neighbor, East Timor. That trip changed her life forever. She questioned how her morning coffee could afford to educate a child for a month, yet many could not even afford that. She questioned the disparity of education and opportunity.

At the conclusion of this first visit, one of her Timorese peers approached her and said, "Don't forget about us." That day Ornella made a promise and commitment to the Timorese community – to never forget about them and do everything she could to create the same education opportunities she had growing up in Australia.

Ten years on, with the generous support of Australian donors, Ornella's work has enabled 650 students the chance to complete senior school in Letefoho a rural community in East Timor. In 2020 the school ranked fourth in the country’s National Exams with qualified alumni returning to teach at the school.

Given this track record of success, BETTER has now identified and prioritised the rural community of Same (Sah-may) as the site of its progressively developed Foundation to year 12 school known as the Bakhita School of Excellence. Same is a rural village located in central Timor, 4 hours’ south of Dili.

BETTER has been entrusted land and some existing infrastructure by the community in Same. It is the only charity to receive such a gift. By 2035, the Bakhita School of Excellence will consist of a minimum of two classes per year group (48-50 students) housed in 26 classrooms, together with a library, sports and arts facilities, to provide up to 650 students per year, access to a BETTER education.

The Bakhita School of Excellence in Same was officially opened in 2023.

Together, with the community BETTER are so excited to bring the opportunity of free, high-quality education as we empower BETTER futures through education.

BETTER are incredibly excited to change thousands of lives and futures.

This is just the start…


York Street
Sydney NSW 2000

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