Subject: Progressio: hopes for the future


autumn 2009

interact voices hopes for the future voices 4 Ten years on from their historic vote for independence, the people of East Timor are at a turning point. They have their freedom Ė but how will they make best use of it?

Antonio Guterres, programme manager for the East Timor NGO Forum

My hope for the future is that our government establishes justice in East Timor. Our people would like to see an international tribunal for the people who were involved in crimes. We would like to see good governance and a system in place for justice.

Demetrio de Carvalho, executive director of environmental organisation Haburas

Before the Indonesians were kicked out, our enemy was very clear. Today itís very complicated. Poverty is one of our common enemies. Environmental degradation is one of our common enemies. If weíre thinking about our future generations, we have to struggle with all these things. East Timor is a small island nation and we are very dependent on our limited resources. The only thing that can make our future sustainable is preserving nature, and conserving ecology.

Nick Molyneux, Progressio development worker with Haburas

What needs to be done is job creation and giving youth hope and purpose. Because at the moment, a lot of people who are unemployed donít have the opportunity to have an occupation, donít have skills, donít have a very good academic education. So my hope is that the government can create more opportunities for youth, which will create a more stable society, and a lot less tension within and between communities.

Melqui Aquino Ribeiro Fernandes, student

My hope for East Timor is that the government gives opportunities to people in the community Ė to help them to develop their own skills so that they can improve their lives and get jobs in order to survive in the future.

Francisca Alves Taolin, advocacy officer for womenís network Rede Feto

Now is the opportunity for East Timorese women, and we need to encourage each other to fulfil this opportunity. More women need to get involved, so that people know that women can participate in development.

Domingas Vilanova Sequeira, Progressio East Timor project officer

My personal hope is that the government will try to minimise the poverty in East Timor, because there are people living on under a dollar a day, which is really sad. Iím also hopingÖ Well, Iím having a baby, so I hope that in the future, my kids wonít have to go to another country to get a better education or healthcare. I hope that we will have it in East Timor.

Weng (Maria) Ladaga, Progressio development worker

I hope that ten years down the road, more citizens, more communities, will be able to engage in democratic processes. I also hope that they will not forget the lessons from the past. Thereís been so much tragedy in this country. I hope that they will not forget, so that it will not happen again.

Afonso Coreia, Nau Ner Community Group (pictured, with red cap)

I work as a farmer. We are currently taking the opportunity to work with a local NGO, Haburas. We are from Nau Ner Community Group, and are working to produce salt, and plant trees for our childrenís future. I am concerned that we have been independent for 10 years, but we do not have electricity or water. If the government cares about us and our children, they should provide us with these things.

Mateus de Jesus Coreia, Nau Ner Community Group (pictured, with beard)

I make salt and look after the goats. I work with Haburas. What the government could do for my community is provide electricity and water.

Paul Alves, Nau Ner Community Group

Since independence nothing has changed. We have asked the government for water and electricity many times. The government should come and see our reality. We are working for the future now. But when will we get water and electricity? After we are all dead? Not everyone will agree with what I am saying, but I feel I need to say it. Why do we not have these services? There are 1,000 people in our village. If you look at other villages they have it, why not us?

Crispin de Jesus Coreia, Nau Ner Community Group

I hope that with Haburas we can bring our concerns to the highest levels of government, and that they will listen to our concerns. And, as a young person, I am asking for job opportunities.

Interviews by Progressio staff members Claire Schultz and David Tanner, who visited East Timor in July and August 2009. Photo by Claire Schultz

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