Madison City Council to Hear from Timorese Visitor
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Women's health advocate works with Madison's sister city of Ainaro, Timor-Leste

For immediate release

Contact - Diane Farsetta, or 608-241-2473

Sidalia do Rego tours family farm, Madison, WI
Sidalia do Rego tours family farm, Madison, WI.
September 6, 2016 - At the beginning of the Tuesday, September 6 Madison Common Council meeting (6:30 pm in room 201 of the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd), Sidalia do Rego from Timor-Leste will address the Council about her work with women's health programs in Madison's sister city of Ainaro, Timor-Leste (East Timor).

Sidalia is the Coordinator of Women's Health and Social Care at Bairo Pite Clinic, a free health care provider in Dili, the capital city of the Southeast Asian island nation. The Madison chapter of the East Timor Action Network has supported Bairo Pite Clinic since its founding in 1998. Madison and Ainaro became official sister cities in 2001.

"My time in Madison has strengthened my foundation to work for women's health and women"s rights," said Sidalia do Rego, who is visiting for two weeks. "The community birth attendants in Ainaro are amazing women. They inspire me. They do so much, but sometimes need help advocating for their own rights. I want to make sure they have the support and information they need.”

Last week, Sidalia participated in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute's 2016 Quality Improvement (QI) Leadership Institute. The QI Institute brings together people working in low-resource settings in Wisconsin and around the world, to learn from UW faculty and staff experts and from each other about strengthening healthcare systems.

In addition to addressing the Madison City Council, this week Sidalia will meet with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, local midwives and Representative Mark Pocan's office. She will also speak with nursing students at UW-Madison and anthropology students at Madison College, and be interviewed by WORT 89.9 FM. Over the holiday weekend, she toured local farms and met with farmers and cheesemakers affiliated with Family Farm Defenders.

"We are thrilled to host Sidalia in Madison and sponsor her U.S. visit," said Diane Farsetta, coordinator of the Madison-Ainaro Sister-City Alliance. "She is incredibly passionate about her work for women's health and women's rights. During her visit, she's been able to learn and teach others. It shows how much our sister communities have in common and how we benefit from each other."

Madison has a long history of solidarity with Timor-Leste. The Madison chapter of the East Timor Action Network formed in the early 1990s, during the U.S. supported Indonesian military occupation of the country. In August 1999, the Timorese voted for independence in a United Nations-organized referendum, bringing an end to the brutal, quarter-century-long occupation. The Madison chapter of the East Timor Action Network (ETAN-Madison) established a sister-city relationship with Ainaro, to help the rural community rebuild and recover.

Sidalia do Rego tours cheese factory, Madison, WI.
Sidalia do Rego on family farm tour, Madison, WI.


ETAN is "A voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia."

Noam Chomsky

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