Support for Women’s Project in East Timor

We are seeking assistance for an established women’s handcraft project in East Timor.
One of the most urgent needs in East Timor is employment and income generation, particularly for women who are often the main providers for their families.
Over the past two years one women’s project has had a good record of utilising women’s existing skills, developing new skills and creating saleable products. Ways of marketing these products in Dili and in Australia have been developed. This project has used traditional Timorese weaving skills and taught women to make new products based on handwoven fabric.

The project has been variously known as the Taibesi Women’s Weaving and Sewing Centre, Veteran Women and Widows Enterprises, East Timor Self Help Projects Workshop and Women’s Woven Art.
Under the name Women’s Woven Art, the project has been maintained by Australian Tricia Johns, who has been in East Timor since December 1999. She is willing to remain in East Timor for another year to make the project viable, but need a sustainable income.
There is a parallel with the art centres in remote aboriginal communities, where there is usually a young Australian administrator with commercial skills to handle purchasing and marketing.
This project which has provided a livelihood for up to 100 women and their extended families still requires administrative help. A recent report on the work of NGO’s in East Timor found that East Timor Self Help Projects, organised by Tricia Johns, had done more to reduce poverty among women in East Timor than any major NGO.
This is a project which is making a practical difference. We are seeking a small amount of funding to keep it going.
Alix Mandelson
AETA Committee
Phone/Fax: 02 9331 1496

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