Timor Leste: leaving a better land for our children

12 April 2012

Anita is now working on growing and selling vegetables like onions, carrots and eggplant rather than profiting from cutting down trees in their community.

Dili, 16 April, 2012 – When Anita Maria de Jesus and her husband finished their education, they decided to do something different with what they learned: make the land better for their son.

Anita was born in Ermera, Timor Leste. After selling dry wood in Camea Village, her husband had a change of heart about cutting trees and selling them. Realising that deforestation would destroy their country, he, together with village chiefs, organised a ceremony of establishing traditional rules “tarabandu” prohibiting people from cutting trees to protect the environment.

Anita got proactive too. She formed a women’s group (seven women and two men) and organised a farm that plants vegetables and sells the products in Dili’s markets.

Living naturally

Anita is excited about her groups agricultural activities and there is strong sense they are all in this together. JRS provided seeds and agricultural training to the women’s group.

“It is better to work based on available natural resources rather than working on something that is not available to us. Land, trees, sun and wind are available in our place, it takes part in us and in our lives,” Anita said. “It is important and our obligation is to love and protect these natural resources so that we can use them in our lives. If we do this, the natural resources will never be scarce. This is also an important factor for our independence, our dignity and our love of God. We love what God has given to us because we can use these resources for ourselves and save them for our children and grandchildren.”

Anita organises the group’s daily work, takes care of their vegetables, cabbages, carrots and onions.

“My husband and I work hard together and love each other dearly. In this way can we can contribute to our family’s growth and development within our society and with peace.”

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