Martina's story -Timor-Leste

Love Your Neighbour

For Martina, Caritas Australia’s Protection Program offered far more than just shelter from domestic violence.

After I left Uma PAS, I felt confident for my future."

For Martina, an East Timorese mother of eight, escaping domestic violence was the first step in her journey to a new life. But at first, her future seemed very uncertain. Timor-Leste is one of the least developed countries in the world, with extremely low levels of basic health, literacy and income. Most East Timorese live in rural areas, with very limited access to basic services or livelihood training, and many households don’t have enough food year round.

The shelter where Martina sought refuge, Uma PAS, offered her many ways to transcend these challenges. Uma PAS is a partner in Caritas Australia’s Protection Program, a holistic community-wide program in Timor-Leste that offers women like Martina economic empowerment and a life of safety in a supportive community.

Through the program, she was linked with a network of support services, and this enabled her to undertake livelihood training and start a small business to support her children. The program also linked her with a supportive community.

Martina from Timor-Leste

“Martina is a person who did not want to give up, but wanted to be able to support her family,” her counsellor at the shelter says. Through the Protection Program, Martina says, “I have learnt how to change my life to support myself, and my children.”

Education is the most important thing to change my children’s lives - Martina