Building relationships and sharing learnings

7 Jun 2017   |   Blog   |   Australia   |   Long-term Development   |   Timor-Leste

Tags:  First Australians, Timor-Leste   |   No comments

Various Caritas Australia partner agencies in Timor-Leste and members from one of our First Australians partner agencies, Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation, are currently involved in a Programs Exchange in Timor-Leste. Staff from our First Australians team and our Timor-Leste office are also participating.

The aim of the exchange is to build relationships, share learnings and ideas between cultures and partners and inform further development for the programs involved.

Our First Australians Programs Manager Sascha Costigan has shared insights from the first day of the trip.

"Today, community members and arts workers of FAP (First Australians Program) partner Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation spent the day with the Timor-Leste team at the Caritas Australia Dili office as well as visiting the Director-General for Arts and Culture, Cecilia Assis, who is also working hard towards strengthening the maintenance and retaining of culture like Djilpin. We also visited CANZ partner HAFOTI, who sell incredible handmade products such as body scrubs, coconut oil products, woven bags, toys, teas, honeys, and table items.

"It was a very fruitful and busy day, where we were received beautifully by the traditional owners of the land, the descendants of the Akadiruhun people who performed a traditional ceremony of welcome, protecting the group in our journey in Timor-Leste. Each member of the FAP group was given a Kuta Matak Malirin - a marking on the forehead with chewed beetle nut to protect and guide us on our journey. We are overwhelmed by the generosity, humility and grace of our Timor friends.

"There was a welcome dance performed by only women for the all women FAP group. The dance group were from the municipality of Covalima (Suai). The young girls danced beautifully and were incredibly inquisitive about the Aboriginal dance which was offered by the Djilpin crew which eventuated in all dancing and laughing together in a spirited way.

"The day was spent exchanging program information between the two regions, as well as traditional dance and songs from both groups and sharing of an incredible feast cooked by Timor-Leste partners. We are so excited by what lies ahead and so grateful to the wonderful Timor-Leste team."

- Sascha Costigan, Manager, First Australians Programs

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