Magazine helping tackle illiteracy in Timor-Leste

By CARE Australia May 27, 2014 1 comment

School children in Timor-Leste read their copies of CARE's educational magazine Lafaek, which is the only publication in the country that uses the national language Tetun. ©Jane Dempster/CARE

In Timor-Leste, CARE is producing educational magazines and radio broadcasts to help communities with literacy, numeracy and life skills.

Lafaek is the only educational publication in Timor-Leste in the local language, Tetun, and covers topics like geography, language, health, culture and science, and issues such as peace, international affairs and women’s rights.

CARE has been producing and distributing Lafaek magazines in Timor-Leste since 2000, starting the publication as a Child Rights magazine after the 1999 Referendum for Independence.

Five times a year between 2004 and 2009, CARE distributed 327,000 copies, reaching over 280,000 students nationwide.

Throughout Timor-Leste, every class and teacher in grades one to nine received issues of Lafaek from 2005 to 2009 thanks to an exceptional distribution network including field officers on motorbike and horseback reaching the remotest of regions.

Response to Lafaek has been tremendous:

  • 96% of teachers attested to the importance and popularity of the Lafaek magazines and reported using them to teach, emphasising that they were the only locally created, locally relevant, consistent curriculum support – and the only educational materials ‘that work’
  • 99% of teachers stated that Lafaek supported children’s learning in basic literacy, languages, natural and social sciences, health, geography, history and civic education
  • 86% of teachers used Lafaek for lesson plans, curriculum content, ideas for activities and their own professional development
  • 91% of children in grades five to nine said they were learning from Lafaek
  • 79% of children said they also used the magazines at home
  • Parents were equally enthusiastic, saying that the magazine helped them to increase their knowledge and to have a better grasp of what their children were learning
Children from Liquica reading the Lafaek Community Magazine during one of CARE’s Health Program Mother’s Group meetings
Children from Liquica reading the Lafaek Community Magazine during one of CARE’s Health Program Mother’s Group meetings. ©Sarah Rippin/CARE

The magazine has taken different forms over the years and the Lafaek team are currently distributing Lafaek ba Komunidade (Lafaek Community Magazine) which teaches and informs communities, adults with low literacy skills and children through colourful, innovative and informative articles.

Lafaek’s printed materials and community radio broadcasts target literacy and numeracy, civic education, agriculture, small business management, health and hygiene.

Learn more about CARE’s work in Timor-Leste

1 Comment Leave new

Rika Fynn Jan 21 2017 at 02:01

My children used Lafayek Magazine to learn Tetun when my family arrived in Dili 2008, and in short time they could start communicate with it. Now I have a personal project to help students in Primary schools to read and write, and I like to use Lafayek magazine. Can I get some copies of the magazines or how to get it ? Thanks

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