Today was one of our busiest days with five straight meetings.
The first of these was with the Alola Foundation, an organisation founded by Kirsty Gusmao focussing on women’s rights, educaion, and maternal health. Although Kirsty Gusmao herself is Australian we were all impressed by the fact that the CEO and other key staff all appeared to be Timorese. For us, combined with the strength and professionalism of the organisation, this was an excellent sign in favour of the organisation’s future sustainability. We were also highly impressed by Alola’s ability to utilize already existing channels such as the political and legal system, in conjunction with the organisations strong connections to achieve tangible outcomes for women in Timor-Leste. The organisations founder, Kirsty Gusmao, especially inspired Carrie through her ability to cross the boundaries between the “malai” and “non-malai” worlds of Timor-Leste.
PRADET, an organisation working with mental health patients, specifically with trauma patients and young prisoners, was our next meeting. Some of the cases spoken about shocked us all a bit but perhaps what was most striking upon leaving the meeting was the apparent lack of psychological experts in Timor- Leste.
Our next set of meetings was with DPO and the Leprosy Mission. DPO works with disabled people primarily to advocate for disabled people and provide educational and stigma-reducing training surrounding especially the physically disabled. The businesses of the office, and the number of disabled people actually working there, was inspiring as it showed the organisation going above and beyond its own policies. Leprosy Mission was also very inspiring, the organisation works twofold to treat leprosy cases (preferably at their earliest stages), then also to work with DPO in advocating for policy change to support those with disabilities.