New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor

by Empreza Diak
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor
New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in East-Timor

Thanks to your donations, we support people to EMPOWER THEIR LIFES!!

After the response given to Dili’s disaster, the post-storm situation observed in Atauro alerted our SAT Center staff about the loss suffered by members of artisans groups from Makili, Arlo, Makadade and Uaru-ana. Fields and crops, already weakened by the drought, have been devastated by the heavy rain last month, putting families on the edge of food insecurity.

40 artisans/farmers received 5kg of beans to complement their families’ diet with a HIGHLY NUTRITIVE LOCAL PRODUCT, following good practices recommended by the WHO.

“Thanks to Empreza Di’ak's support, we received beans that will help our families. Thank you also for coming to our place and share information about COVID-19”, said Mrs M. from Arlo.

Because our cultural heritage is important, artisans also need to RECOVER, REBUILD and STAND UP AGAIN!!

In August and October, Empreza Di'ak also managed to organize fairs in Dili and Atauro, providing artisans with opportunities to increase their access to market and income. Following the Covid-19 wave that hit Timor-Leste (including our team) in August and September, the handicraft market recently held in Atauro has been a good occasion to make the encounter happen again between artisans and clients, this time in the proper Atauro island!

During the fair, kids loved the handicraft workshop run by Biojoias (group of artisans with disability) during which they learnt how to make a bracelet with seeds and shells.

More is coming, keep tuned!!

 

Please follow - and share! - the project on Facebook and Instagram 

If you are in Timor-Leste, visit our local products’ shops in Dili and Atauro (links for map and details), buy unique handicrafts and learn more about our beautiful country and these amazing artisans! If you are visiting Atauro, talk to us to know more about the handicraft workshops.

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Many visitors, good sales!
Many visitors, good sales!

The global COVID-19 pandemic that surged in 2020 severely impacted the tourism sector and Atauro Island suffered important consequences. Since March 2020, all the artisans groups involved in the project have seen their income dramatically drop to zero or almost. ED had to stop community visits and resumed only in July, but with a limited capacity to buy products from the groups because of the lack of tourists and potential customers.

Therefore, organizing the 4th Atauro Handicraft Market appeared to be even more necessary in order to try compensating the loss of income experienced during months. Of course, social distancing and other measures imposed by the Government and the World Health Organization had to be taken into account.

The 4th Atauro Handicraft Market finally happened at Timor Plaza in November 2020 gathering 31 artisans (26 women and 5 men) from 15 groups, 3 facilitators (all women) and 3 local businesses.

Several weeks were necessary to prepare this event. Artisans started producing handicrafts a long time before the event to ensure the quantity and quality needed.

All the participants received a participatory preparation training for the fair, including:

-      Sharing information about the fair and COVID-19 prevention measures,

-      How to run a stand,

-      How to set up the products’ price,

-      How to register cash in and cash out,

-      How to prepare their products and set up the stands.

The fair received hundreds of visitors and ended at night time after successful sales. It has been also the opportunity to present more than 10 new products recently developped!

The artisans went back to Atauro with a general feeling of satisfaction, registering suprising record sales in spite of the difficult economic context. Gains earned during the fair were a relief for the groups who had seen their income being reduced to nothing since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 threat.

“We enjoyed our time at Timor Plaza, we did not know this place before and it is a good place for running the fair.”

“We are ready to repeat the experience!”

“I am happy because we had the possibility to come here and sell our products. In less than two hours, we already did more than 50$.”

Empreza Di'ak participated in more fairs for Christmas making possible access to market for local artisans. Also, however facing a lockdown in Dili due to COVID-19, our team is working on the best way to keep on supporting our partners during these difficult times.

You can follow the project on Facebook and Instagram.

If you are in Timor-Leste, as soon as we will be allowed to reopen, visit our local products’ shops in Díli and Atauro (links for map and details), buy unique handicrafts and learn more about our beautiful country and these amazing artisans!

Good vibes!
Good vibes!
A special guest: Nobel Peace Prize Dr. Ramos Horta
A special guest: Nobel Peace Prize Dr. Ramos Horta
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Soap and masks support
Soap and masks support

After months under State of Emergency, Empreza Di’ak resumed what it exists for: field work. Having created new procedures to adapt to COVID-19 context (use of masks, carrying hand washing device to activities, limited numbers of participants), Empreza Di’ak’s staff got off the office and renewed connection with Timorese artisans, mostly women.

Community visits ran in July and August allowed the team to reach artisans from Atauro communities (Arlo, Makili, Makadade and Baruana). For most of them, that has been the first opportunity since March to sell their products and generate some income, highly needed by their families during such difficult times. Once more, we also supported them by raising awareness on COVID-19 disease and distributed soap and locally made masks.

Moreover, Empreza Di’ak started a long exercise of mapping as many artisans as possible, meeting groups and individuals and registering information from their handicraft activities. This important process, supported by your donations and European Union funds, will allow us to get good information about people who live from making handicraft, their stories, businesses, strengths and needs. Future results will be a valuable contribution to define better strategies of support and training.

Patience and persistence were rewarded by satisfactory moments like interviewing a group composed by three generation of female artisans working together and keeping their traditions alive through the spiral of time!

You can follow the project on Facebook and Instagram.

If you are in Timor-Leste, visit our local products’ shops in Díli and Atauro (links for map and details), buy unique handicrafts and learn more about our beautiful country and these amazing artisans!

Three generations together in Moris Dame group
Three generations together in Moris Dame group
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Empreza Di’ak and rural communities started 2020 looking ahead towards a better future. The impoverished Atauro island has an unique and incredible tourism potential to be explored. While many people go the island for diving or hiking, communities are also willing to share their culture and traditions to the visitors.

We have been working together with artisans from Arlo, Makadade, Makili and Baruana on preparing handicrafts workshops for tourists.

During the last 3 months, 40 local artisans representing several groups were involved in various trainings on identifying which kind of traditional handicraft knowledge could be shared with visitors, and on how to directly provide a workshop to a group. (see pictures about Training on teaching Katupa – a traditional cooking technique)

Moreover, young women from the same communities also started an internship at ED’s SAT center in Atauro aimed at improving their skills and preparing them to be facilitators able to organize and conduct a workshop side by side with the artisans.

Our team also kept  supporting local communities through product quality improvement, business assessment and access to market for artisans’ production. As usual, this permanent support to artisans was made possible by our staff’s effort in running monthly community visits and our shops in Atauro and Dili.

Facing challenges

As many other countries, Timor-Leste has recently been affected by the threat of COVID-19’s propagation. In March, this resulted in the evacuation of international volunteers who were working at Empreza Di’ak. Since 28th of March, the State of Emergency was decreed as a prevention measure. This situation is having a direct impact on the national economy in general and will hit even harder rural communities and social tourism initiatives due to health concerns and travel bans.

In spite of having to suspend temporarily training activities to the communities according to the application of social distance rules, Empreza Di’ak refuses to forget its commitments in fighting poverty. That is why we are taking the right prevention measures, reorganizing our work and planning new ways to perform our mission.

More than ever, your donation to this project will contribute to smoothen the impact of this global crisis, by giving Empreza Di’ak and 150 artisans the means to address this unprecedented challenge.

Thank you for standing beside us! Keep safe!

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3rd Atauro Handicraft Market in Dili
3rd Atauro Handicraft Market in Dili

With your generous support, this year we have been able to work with 150 artisans in Timor-Leste, developing traditional and new livelihoods as well as designing new products and services that meet the needs of these amazing rural communities.

 

 

With your help we are supporting these artisans to turn their traditions into livelihoods!

 

A highlight from December was the 3rd Atauro Handicraft Market where more than 40 artisans came from this remote island to the capital Dili (some of them making this journey for the very first time!) to get training, exhibit their art and sell their unique products.

 

The Handicraft Market was a huge success! We had over 150 of visitors and the artisans sold hundreds of products, generating over $2,000 for these rural artisans - which has transformative impact on their lives and also boosts Atauro’s extremely impoverished economy.

The event was also a great opportunity for the artisans to get feedback on their products and to see their skills and cultural heritage appreciated by a wider audience.

 

We also presented some of the innovative sustainable products that Empreza Diak has designed in 2019 together with these communities (check out our brand new Mikado game, Phone Support, computer support and much more!). If you are in Timor-Leste, you an find these unique products in our shops in Dili and Atauro (Rua de Laútem, 1, Farol, Díli) and learn more about our beautiful country and these amazing artisans! 

 

If you are abroad you can follow the project on Facebook and Instagram

 

We hope you are inspired by this news and continue to support us in the new year, sharing this work with friends and family to join this transformative movement.

Thank you and happy holiday!

Artisans and their handicraft products
Artisans and their handicraft products
JICA volunteer giving pottery training
JICA volunteer giving pottery training
Artisans developing handicraft products in Atauro
Artisans developing handicraft products in Atauro

Links:

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Organization Information

Empreza Diak

Location: Dili - East Timor
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @emprezadiak
Project Leader:
Filipe Alfaiate
Dili, East Timor
$9,599 raised of $13,000 goal
 
155 donations
$3,401 to go
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