Employee fundraising raises thousands for children in Timor-Leste

What started as a simple idea from a small group of ConocoPhillips employees has resulted in a huge fundraising effort, providing essential items and infrastructure to schools and orphanages across Timor-Leste.

In 15 months, the Bayu-Undan Infill Wells (BUIW) team carried out five fundraising activities to assist Timor-Leste institutions and, with the help of ConocoPhillips staff, have raised thousands of dollars in funds.

The idea was born from a 2017 trip to Timor-Leste and a BUIW Timor-Leste Charity Drive Committee was soon formed. The team worked closely with employees from the ConocoPhillips Dili office to select organisations that were in most need of support, those with no other regular financial assistance and which were in more remote regions of the country. 

Since then the team have held donation drives, sausage sizzles and chocolate sales, from which they have been able to provide Christmas packs, school supplies, sporting equipment, toys, food and other essential items, including a motorised hand tractor and seeds for the the Fundação Orfonato Kiak Servi Kiak Orphanage.

Due to its remoteness, the orphanage is also a vocational school for agriculture and livestock training, and on top of cultivating food for the three surrounding villages, the hand tractor is also being used to build local skills and increase food production. Since the donation of the hand tractor a further two activities were held to raise funds for the purchase of bunk beds and bedding for children at the Orfonato ISMAIK Loes Orphanage.

The Texan style BBQs raised almost $4,000 and sales of donated computers raised a further $3,000 with the help of the IT department. The beds were recently purchased and installed, and employees visited the orphanage to meet the children and provide a delivery of rice and other food items. Sister Jacinta, who single handedly runs the orphanage of 45 children, was overcome by the generosity of the team.

Dave Fillman, Charity Drive Committee member, said with each activity, support from employees had continued to grow. The team was also supported by the company’s Employee Volunteering Grant scheme, with around $6,000 in grant funding going towards the charity drive’s beneficiaries in 2018.

 “Things have definitely escalated since our first sausage sizzle event. It has generated desire from others to keep it going which is a really neat thing,” Dave said. “Since then we’ve been approached by other departments where people have been inspired to contribute the funds they’ve raised through other activities to our efforts.” 

Not only did employees chip in with fundraising, but also with the sourcing, packing and delivery of the goods, and contributing to activities like the World Cup sweepstake, 100 Club and chocolate sales.

The BUIW team couldn’t be more grateful for the support they have received throughout the year – especially to the committee members, those who assisted in fundraising activities and all who donated items and/or funds. Dave said it was this support that had allowed the team to deliver the items to those in need and personally see the difference this made to the kids and the staff at each of the institutions.  

“The fact that I’m fortunate enough to be part of a team that gets to go up there each quarter and actually visit the institutes, see the kids, see the smiles - there’s a lot of happiness,” he said.  

“We thank everyone for the part they played in making those smiles happen.”