Date: December 28, 2021
A total of 24 women survivors of past conflict and gender-based violence (GBV) from seven districts (Ainaro, Baucau, Dili, Ermera, Liquisa, Manufahi, and Oécusse) participated in a one-day bazaar held by ACbit and Fokupers, under the coordination of Hivos, on 10th of December 2021. Located at the Asosiasaun Hak office in Farol, Dili, the event was a part of the 16 Days of Activism against GBV campaign. The bazaar also provided an opportunity for a group of women micro-entrepreneurs from Baucau to display and sell their products.
Among the products showcased and sold at the bazaar were local produce such as taros, sweet potatoes, cassavas, sago, coffee, peanuts, local rice, honey, local chicken, dry fish, vegetables, and dragon fruits. There were also handicrafts such as tais, wallets, bags, earrings, necklaces, and baskets.
“I feel happy to participate in this bazaar because it can help me to sell the product that we produced. Our group sold handicraft such as basket, bags, traditional fans and others,” said Ms. Olivia Zerão, a survivor from Liquisa, as quoted by Neon Metin
In addition to the bazaar, the event featured a seminar themed “Stop Violence Against Women and Girls, Empower the Economy of Women Survivors.” The panelist of the seminar came from different backgrounds to provide different perspectives. Mr. Jose Sabino Ximenes, the Program Manager of Economic Empowerment of the Alola Foundation talked about strategies to empower women’s economy, manage small businesses, and gaining access to local market. Ms. Hergui Luina Fernandes Alves, the President of the Timor-Leste Business-Women Association (AEMTL), spoke about the role of AEMTL to support women survivors in small business. Mr. Angelo dos Santos Veloso the National Director of Employment Relation from the State Secretary of Professional Training and Employment (SEFOPE), spoke about the strategies of SEFOPE to empower women in accessing labor camp as a contribution to stop violence against women and promote gender equality. Two women survivors, Ms. Luciana Martins and Ms. Dulce de Jesus Soares, spoke about their own business experience.
“My business activities give me strength because I can earn a lot of income to support my family and pay for my children’s school fee,” said Ms. Luciana Martins, a survivor from Dili, 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.
The event was funded by the European Union and MISEREOR. It was 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.