From 16th to 20th of May 2022, ACbit collaborated with Baucau Municipal authority, Parseria Hametin Dezenvolvimentu Suku no Administrasaun Munisipiu (PARTISIPA), Assosiasaun Unidade Feto Dezenvolvimento (A-UFD) and Conselho Nacional Juventude Timor-Leste (CNJTL) hold a bazaar at the Edifisiu Munisipal Trilolo to commemorate the Timor-Leste Restoration of Independence Day. In this event, ACbit provided the opportunity for 10 women survivors and micro-entrepreneurs to sell their products, such as fried bananas, oranges, peanuts, papayas, rice, coconut oil, taros, and sweet potatoes. There were also handicrafts, such as tais, wallets, bags, earrings, necklaces, and baskets.
This collaboration was appreciated and greatly encouraged by the Baucau Municipal Authority. Mr. Mario Freitas Belo, the Director of Management Plaining and Tourism that represented the President of Baucau Municipal Authority in the event stated that, “For Association Chega! Ba Ita (ACbit), please do continue to organize women survivors to participate in commemorating the national day so that they can promote the products that they produce.”
In addition to the bazaar, the event featured a seminar themed “Promoting Local Products, Empowering the Economy of Survivors.” The panelists of the seminar came from different backgrounds to provide different perspectives. Mr. Francisco Xavier, the General Director of SECOOP (State Secretary of Cooperative) talked about the role of SECOOP to support the group of cooperatives. To motivate and inspire women survivors, Ms. Maria do Rasario Costa, the Director of Andy Makmur Company, shared her experience in successfully running the business, while Ms. Regina Freitas, a women survivor of past conflict, shared her experience in organizing a group to run a small business.
“We are women survivors from Caibada who work together in a group name Matalan. This group was stablished during the resistance. Now, the activity that we run at the group are weaving, making tais, sewing edge, and produce other local products such as peanuts, cassavas, papayas, etc.,” said Ms. Regina Freitas in the seminar.
The aim of this event was to provide opportunities for women survivors who run a small business to promote and market their products, and to bring together and provide opportunities for women survivors to build networks with each other, as well as with the government, local businesses, other small business owners, and buyers in general. It was also aimed to provide a safe space for women survivors to share their experiences as a way to build public awareness about the impact of GBV and past conflict violence, and the importance of women’s economic development, and to bring new motivation and inspiration to strengthen women’s economy.
True to its aims, the event provided an opportunity for Ms. Regina Freitas’ group to connect with SECOOP as she mentioned that she, ”also want ask to the director from SECOOP to support our group in the future by giving us the opportunities to run the economic activities.”
The event was funded by the European Union through the Reforsa Hamutuk project, and by the Baucau Municipal Authority. Reforsa Hamutuk is a 33-month project implemented by ACbit, Hivos, and Fokupers to promote social inclusion and economic development of women survivors and victims of violence in Timor-Leste.