DILI, 06 november 2023 (TATOLI) – Timorese teacher, Filomena da Costa has been awarded the 2023 Princess Maha Chakri Award (PMCA) by the Kingdom of Thailand for her exceptional contribution to education in Timor-Leste.
Filomena da Costa, an Indonesian Language Teacher at São Miguel Arcanjo primary school, in Manufahi Municipality, is one of the 11 recipients of the PMCA in South East Asia. She presented an open door to opportunities for her students by establishing the Mother Mary Home Care Center to offer care for disadvantaged and abandoned children. The center currently cares for children aged between 3 and 15.
“I’m very grateful for the award and it’s a very proud moment for me. I didn’t think I would receive such a ‘prestigious’ award. It’s a gift from God,” Filomena told Tatoli.
As a teacher, Filomena realized that there are many challenges in life: “But I am happy to be blessed with a job as a teacher.”
Filomeno raised the issue facing many schools in the country, including poor infrastructure, lack of teacher’s retirement law, and so on.
She added that the Ministry of Education must continue to provide training and capacity building to improve the capacity of the teachers in order to improve the quality of education in the country.
Filomena encouraged young people who want to pursue their future dream job of becoming a teacher to make their dreams come true: “If you work as a teacher, don’t be afraid to share your knowledge and experience, because teaching is the only profession that creates all the other professions.”
PMCA is a royal award to be presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand to commemorate her 60th birthday. This award will be offered once in two years, starting from 2015, to one teacher from each of the 11 SEAMEO member countries (10 ASEAN countries and Timor Leste) to celebrate excellence in the teaching profession and recognize teachers for their contribution to the future generation.
The 5th Princess Maha Chakri Award Ceremony was held on october 17, 2023. The awarded teachers from 11 countries were: Teacher Mohammad Amir Irvan Bin Hachimukkhsin from Negara Brunei Darussalam; Teacher He Chakriya from the Kingdom of Cambodia; Teacher Haris Dayani from the Republic of Indonesia; Teacher Kim Phuong Heungmany from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Teacher Sai Fulnisan Che Ismail from Malaysia; Teacher Daw E Soo Win from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; Teacher Jerwin O. Valencia from the Republic of the Philippines; Teacher Chong Kuan Penny from the Republic of Singapore; Teacher Filomena Da Costa from the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste; Teacher Nguyen Man Hung from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The PMCA recipients received US$10,000 in prize money, a gold medal, an honorary brooch, and a certificate of honor.
Journalist: Camilio de Sousa
Editor: Filomeno Martins