After receiving $5,000 from The Happy Herb Company, Hands On Health Australia (HOHA) is setting the wheels in motion for stage 2 of our collaborative massage therapy training program in Timor Leste. Known as the Sustainable Training Treatment Employment Program (STTEP), this project is looking to build upon the good work completed in Dili late last year by conducting a 2 week intensive course for the health professionals and community healers of the sub-district of Gleno.

The course will set to address and alleviate disabilities associated with musculoskeletal pain (MSK). Like other developing nations, the engagement of Timor-Leste’s citizens in strenuous manual work such as construction and fabric weaving at traditional looms poses significant risks for developing MSK disorders.

Right now a graduate of our 2013 pilot project, Casilda Fernandes, a midwife of 15 years’ experience, is busily working on initial local planning including recruitment of participants and arrangements for accommodation of the HOHA team.

The Gleno Project will serve as the first district-focused project and will continue to develop a Train-the trainer program to ensure the process of training and treatment becomes sustainable without external input.

The funds awarded to HOHA for this noble venture are being put toward the costs associated with staging the seminar. This includes a variety of expenses such as: treatment benches, text books, catering, internal transport, internet and communications as well as the costs of travel and accommodation of a professional ‘fly-in’ expert from Australia to conduct the training. Yet to be confirmed, the ‘fly-in’ expert will be either a chiropractor or myotherapist with experience from the 2013 project. Depending on their availability, the HOHA team will look to initiate the course in September or October with a class size of approximately 20-30 students.

We wish the team over there the best of luck!