‘Taking Steps ‘ New Women’s Livelihood Project

May 18th, 2011 Annww Posted in 'Taking Steps' Womens Livelihood Project, Friends of Suai News, News from Suai, Suai Visit 2011 Comments Off on ‘Taking Steps ‘ New Women’s Livelihood Project

by Ann Wigglesworth
‘Taking Steps’ is a project to support women’s livelihood development. Covalima Community Centre and Friends of Suai run the project with funding from International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA). Six women’s groups have started small scale livelihood activities in Suai Loro, Matai, Ogues, Salele and Lalawa. Some make Tais, others have started new agricultural activities, food processing or other crafts.
The groups Fitun Naroman and Haboras Goronto both weave Tais. Fitun Naroman have started a small shop in Suai Loro (photo). Since the project started their activities have diversified to include rice production. Haboras Goronto have started chicken rearing.

Fitun Naroman members

Cruz Minarai group are making some lovely crafts including baskets and woven mobiles. Halibur Aikan Local (Halal) group have asked to learn some of these skills from Cruz Minarai. The project will support this exchange of skills.

Cruz Minarai crafts

Haburas Maudemo make banana chips which are sold locally in Salele and grow vegetables are sold in the Suai market (photo).

Selling Haburas Maudemo vegetables in Suai market

The Chefe de Suco of Maudemo is Maria Fatima who is the leader of the Haboras Maudemo group. In the photo at the group vegetable plot she is on the right.

Haborus Maudemo vegetable plot

Haborus Maudemo vegetable plot

The project staff visit the groups regularly to give support, organize skills training, and help resolve problems that the group might face. Another group in Maudemo are Halibur Maudemo making tempe. Alita, the Project Coordinator is in the background.

Halibur Maudemo group making tempe

The Halal group make banana chips which are sealed in plastic packets to keep fresh for sale. They are also planning to start a fish pond.

Halal group make banana chips

Filizarda, the leader of the Halal group, said that her role as the women’s representative on the Suco Council now has more meaning than before because can represent the views of other women and also inform them about the other women’s issues in the Suco. (Suco – small village)

Maria Fatima and Filizarda attended a women’s meeting at the Friends of Suai community centre to discuss coordination with and support of the Gender Focal Point, who is the government’s representative, to ensure gender issues are considered in all government programs.

Taking Steps is an exciting new project with potential to reach out to more women. It is about women forming groups, sharing, learning and building confidence and leadership. FOS is commited to ensuring that funding for this project will enable the project to continue to support women of Covalima.

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Suai Loro Uma Lulik Ceremony

April 28th, 2011 jen Posted in 2011 Uma Lulik Ceremony Suai Loro, Events, Friends of Suai News, News from Suai, Traditional Dance Comments Off on Suai Loro Uma Lulik Ceremony

Suai Loro is the area of land between the Timor Sea South of East Timor and Suai the largest centre of Covalima. Uma Lulik are the Tetum words for Sacred House. The Sacred House is the architectural home of animist culture in East Timor.
The following video was shot by Pat Jessen Co-ordinator of the Friends of Suai on her recent visit to Suai.
Pat: “The Uma Lulik Ceremony lasted for seven days in April 2011. The community had waited for seven years due to lack of funds. Suai Loro is a matrilineal society with  liurai-feto (female royal heads of community). Note the rich cultural heritage of the dancers and the beautiful ceremonial tais (handwoven textiles)”.

You can see  photographs of the beautiful carpentry and carvings in the newly built Uma Lulik in Fohoren and read about it here in an article written about traditional culture by youth media students in a  digital writing and photography workshop funded by the Friends of Suai in July 2008. See Photographs of Fohoren Uma Lulik. Fohorem is in the mountains several hours drive from Suai over very rough terrain.

Balthasar Kehi, (a member of the Friends of Suai Committee ), tells us that originally Koba Lima did not include Suai because Suai had her own kingdom. It was the centre of the great kingdom of We Hali.
The original name of Suai Loro is Suai Loro We Hali. The Tetun word Loro translates in English as sun. But it is also the most respectful title for a sacred king/queen whose main role, like that of the sun, is to enlighten. In English ‘We’ translates as water and ‘Hali’ as Bunyan tree. Suai Loro is next to the Timor Sea and the Bunyan tree is indigenous to it. The kingdom of We Hali was the biggest kingdom in the undivided island of Timor. The seat of power of this kingdom was in Suai Loro. You can read more about the division of Timor in an article by Balthasar here titled Koba Lima Suai.

More about traditional culture in East Timor…

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Serious illness strikes Suai Co-ordinator

March 12th, 2010 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Important Changes, News from Suai, Simao da Silva Barreto - Stroke Victim 1 Comment »

Simao-great-photoIt is with deep sadness that we have to report Simao da Silva Barreto who has been the Coordinator at Centro Communidade Covalima (Covalima Community Centre-(Suai)  since 2006 and the Commission Chairperson at the Centre in 2005 had a stroke in January. The stroke has taken Simao’s power of speech and limited his mobility. He is undergoing physiotherapy in Dili and we all wish him a full recovery.

Simao has implemented many programs and projects at CCC funded by Friends of Suai and is an important community leader who also is Chairperson of the local community radio station Radio Taroman, a secondary-school teacher and tireless worker.

When Simao came to Australia in 2006 he told Friends of Suai the story of his great uncle who was killed by the Japanese in WW2. His great uncle was killed because he was found by the Japanese to have Australian coins in his pocket. He told me that his older brother said ”you must learn English and go to Australia and tell this story.” Well indeed he did tell this us this story and ensured that the friendship that began in WW2 has continued between our communities. He has also taught many others English as well in his role as a school teacher.  I trust that he will be back home together with his family soon and his future will be bright. 

This beautiful photograph of Simao shows him at his happiest and best hamming it up as if he is meeting a stranger for Friends of Suai committee member and English teacher Desleigh, last year. Simao stayed with Desleigh in Port Phillip in 2007.

Pat Jessen Coordinator Friends of Suai Port Phillip.

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Naughty Ninjas in Timor Leste?

February 2nd, 2010 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Ninja Stories 1 Comment »

Fact or Fiction? Entertainment or real threat? Make up your own mind – read this story posted by The Lost Boy yesterday speculating about the presence of so-called ninjas in Cova Lima threatening the lives of the local people or whether the leadership is in cahoots with the police to create a case for placing armed police in the area in the run up to municipal elections.

The Lost Boy: “When I first heard that there was a band of “ninjas” terrorizing folks in Timor-Leste, I have to admit I chuckled a little. But laughs aside, there is something odd going on. Obviously we’re not talking about real ninjas, but just guys with masks who have been dubbed ninjas by the media”  more

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Aniversario ba dala sanuluh(10) Septembro Negro Iha Suai.

November 10th, 2009 jen Posted in 2009, 2009 In Suai, Aniversario Massacre Suai 2010, Friends of Suai News Comments Off on Aniversario ba dala sanuluh(10) Septembro Negro Iha Suai.

Chamot – co-ordinator of the Uma Media and YoMaTre has just uploaded this video from Suai. This is a historic moment in the history of the friendship that comes just one month after the 10th Anniversary of the massacre and the surround events that led to the formation of the friendship ten years ago.
Notisias Dokumentario Yo-Ma-Tre.
Nebe Kobertura iha fulan setembru 2009.

Find more videos like this on friends of suaimediaspace

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Graffiti in Suai Loro 2009

October 27th, 2009 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Graffiti in Suai Loro Comments Off on Graffiti in Suai Loro 2009


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United Malaes put humour into call for justice

September 6th, 2009 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Humour in a call for justice, News from Suai 1 Comment »

Received from friends today by email.

The following press release appeared in Dili this morning. I  thought it should be shared.  I don’t believe the re-enactment took place.
— Charlie

United Malaes

4 September 2009

Special Representatives of the United Malaes considered arriving at Hotel Timor at 07.00 hours today, 4 September 2009, to perform a re-enactment of the announcement of the Popular Consultation results which occurred ten years ago in this very place. UM Chief of Mission Mian Martin declared the Popular Consultation a great success, and today conveyed the results of a second Popular Consultation, held between August 30 1999 and August 30 2009. Following is the text of his speech:

We have now counted all the votes. One million Timorese people have voted in this Popular Consultation, or an astonishing 98.5% of the population. The people were asked to choose between accepting Special Impunity for Indonesia, or rejecting Special Impunity in favour of Independent Justice. I can now announce the results: 2 votes for Special Impunity for Indonesia, and 999,998 votes for Independent Justice. I now ask, on behalf of the United Malais and the international community, that the results of the Popular Consultation be implemented in a timely and peaceful manner. I particularly request that the 2 persons who voted for Special Impunity respect the will of the people and allow independent justice to proceed in accordance with Timorese and international laws. Let us now move forward, together, to uphold the human rights of this new nation. The people have voted, overwhelmingly, against Special Impunity and in favour of Independent Justice. We of the UM offer you our support. Your human rights are our human rights. Together, we will see justice done! Thank you.

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AusAID affirms support for USAID journalism project.

October 3rd, 2008 jen Posted in AusAid partners USAid, AusAID support for journalism project, Communications Technology, Friends of Suai News, News from Suai, Press Releases 1 Comment »

DILI, Timor-Leste–On Wednesday, Sept. 24, officials from AusAID will sign
an agreement providing an additional $500,000 in Australian dollars to the
Strengthening of Independent Media Program in Timor-Leste, a five-year
program with major funding from USAID.

Journalists are invited to cover the ceremony, which will be held at 3 pm at
the office of the International Center for Journalists in Bairro Formosa.
AusAID acting counselor Jenny Darin and USAID country director Mark White
will attend and take questions from the press.

The ICFJ program works with Timorese journalists to produce and disseminate
high quality news and aims to expand the reach of information to all
citizens of Timor-Leste. The project also trains working journalists as
trainers who teach in their own newsrooms and in classrooms across

ICFJ’s partners include leading local media outlets and journalism
organizations working to improve news distribution and upgrade journalism
standards, activities essential to helping the media community become more
professional, self-sustainable, and capable of informing citizens about
issues affecting them.

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