Date: December 17, 2020
Author: Silverio Beli-Siri Andrade da Silva
ACbit, Fokupers, and Hivos held a one-day bazaar on 4 December 2020, at Fokupers office in Farol, Dili as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. Supported by the European Union, in this event, women survivors of past conflict and gender-based violence from 7 districts (Ainaro, Baucau, Dili, Ermera, Likisa, Manufahi and Oé-cusse) were invited to sell their products. These included tais (traditional clothing), coffee, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, cassava, chicken, and other local products. The bazaar also provided an opportunity for the sale of products by partner organizations – Casa Vida, Arquiris, Hiam Health and Empreza Diak.
In addition to the bazaar, the day featured a seminar on the theme “Ensuring Sustainable Community-Based Economic Development”. A range of people were invited to speak from different perspectives. Mr. Armando da Silva, representative of the State Secretary for Equality and Inclusion, talked about the importance of strengthening women. Mr. Nivio Magalhães, former State Secretary of Youth and Labor, spoke about access to the economy, and marketing strategies. Bela Galhos, Human Rights Activist, spoke about inspiration and motivation, the importance of women’s roles and economic livelihood. Two women survivors spoke about their own experience and hardship.
The aim of these event was to provide a space for women survivors of gender-based violence and past conflict to share their experience while also earning an income by promoting and selling their products. The events were a great way to strengthen solidarity, and provided a space for everyone involved to learn from the women’s experience, and be inspired and motivated to improve their economic wellbeing.
I was very happy to join this bazaar, as it gave me an opportunity to sell my products in Dili and earn more income so that I can pay my children’s school fee and address the basic needs.
—Julmira da Costa-Survivor of past conflict from Manufahi.
This activity is part of the Reforsa Hamutuk project, a 30-month project funded by the European Union to promote social inclusion and economic development of women survivors and victims of violence in Timor-Leste.