Kris (main photo), lives in Timor Leste with her family. Her mum, Flabiana (at right), is a Project Compassion 2012 beneficiary and, thanks to you, their future is looking brighter.
In the 1999 conflict that followed Timor Leste’s declaration of independence, Flabiana and her family lost everything. Fleeing the violence that engulfed their village they spent three months hiding in Timor Leste’s rugged mountains, lest they – like almost one third of the country’s population – be killed in the skirmish. When it was safe to return to their village, they arrived home to a scene of destruction.
Over time, they managed to recoup a small number of goats and pigs, which they sold to rebuild their house and establish a small kiosk. But, as Flabiana explains, “we didn’t have enough food for the whole year and didn’t make much money from our kiosk or selling betel nuts. We couldn’t send all our children to school.”
How Innovation is Helping
Caritas Australia coordinates training in ‘Integrated Rural Community Development’ which unites villagers on a path to self reliance and strengthens the community’s participation in their own development. Throughout the training, villagers learn new techniques for managing fast-growing crops, processing food, producing traditional medicines and breeding animals. This innovation and technology is helping them to get back on their feet and move forward as one.
Empowered to take ownership of their own future, Flabiana and a group of people from her village developed a plan to produce nutritious tofu and tempeh. They approached Caritas for a $500 grant to purchase a soybean processor and we worked together to construct a sanitary
building for food processing. This group now makes and sells these and other foods for profit, and works in solidarity with the community to train others to do the same. Each newly trained group can then access the machine; sharing sales between members and contributing to their savings programs.
Today, Flabiana’s family has saved enough money to expand their kiosk, repair their house and buy several pigs, goats and chickens to breed. They can also send their children to school.
“After joining Caritas we’ve found many changes. Now we have food for the whole year because we grow vegetables and earn money from food processing. Our health has also improved.”
Caritas Australia works with thousands of conflict-affected families in Timor Leste: families who are now confident of a more peaceful and prosperous future. With your ongoing support, we will expand our project to include a fishing group and cow ‘swap’ project in Flabiana’s village. Their self-reliance is a positive step ahead.
“Living in peace, we can send our children to school; we can do our work well. I thank Australians and ask that they continue to support us.”
Together we can help the poorest of the poor live a life of dignity. We can help them become self-sufficient so they don’t need to rely on aid; we can help them go to school and learn better ways to farm using sustainable agriculture techniques; and we can help them support their family and community.
By supporting Caritas Australia you are creating positive change and bringing hope, life, peace and justice to many disadvantaged communities.