Bellingham student to create youth music program in Timor-Leste


Michelle Kuss-Cybula, principal of Fairhaven Middle School, and Bellingham Public School Foundation board members Vicky Reardon and Kim Lund enjoy the April 30 Hungry Minds fundraiser. More than 250 guests attended the breakfast in support of schools.


Scripps College sophomore Taia Sean Wu was recently chosen for a Davis Projects for Peace grant that will allow her to work this summer in Asia, according to the school. The Bellingham student plans to create a youth center music program in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

"Today, Timor-Leste is the poorest country in Southeast Asia and one of the youngest, with over half of its citizens under the age of 15," Taia said. "The average Timorese youth has grown up enduring some of the most brutal years of the Indonesian genocide, as well as surviving the violence and tumult of Timor-Leste's early independence. Spending their formative years in such conflict and poverty has left many children with no hope for a brighter future."

She will work with Timor-Leste's peace-building organization, Ba Futuru, to organize and offer theater and music workshops for at-risk youths 6 to 16. According to the press release, the purpose of the workshops is to give youths a safe space where they can gather and express themselves in hopes they will work through past traumas and develop a healthier self-esteem.

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