Handcrafts exhibition in Wellington raises awareness of Timor Leste

ELTOs and other VUW students perform
ELTOs and other VUW students perform

By ELTO Intake 40 participant, Anita Fatima Marques Da Silva from the Ministry of Education in Timor Leste

“Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself” by George Bernard Shaw. This is the quote that is used to inspire and motivate people of Timor-Leste working hard in their daily lives.

On Monday, 4 May 2015, New Zealanders who have worked in Timor-Leste on VSA (Volunteer Service Abroad) organized a week-long exhibition of Timorese handcrafts at Thistle Hall in Upper Cuba Street.
The purpose of this event was to raise some funds for Timorese people and projects, raise awareness of Timor-Leste and its connection to New Zealand and facilitate interactions between Timorese students and Wellingtonians to celebrate East Timor culture.
Currently, my country is rich with handcrafts but there is no way to promote them to another country. Local government and some non-governmental organizations are working together to enhance the capacity building of artisans to build something interesting in the people’s eyes.
This event was planned by people of New Zealand who worked as volunteers during their time in Timor-Leste through helping local people by creating handcrafts. As Tracey Wemyss said during the exhibition, “We would love to have more events. Most of us have worked in Timor and we have very strong feelings for Timor and its people. We also want to support Timorese students who are living here by providing a community to help them studying here with good friendships and making good connections”.
The items on exhibit were tais – traditional clothes of Timor-Leste, baskets, photos, artwork, books of Timor-leste which were written by Timorese people, traditional houses, handbags, earrings, carvings and many other interesting things. During the exhibition there were some performances, such as dancing and singing from students of ELTO Timor-Leste and NZ Aid students of Timor-leste who are studying here. This made the ceremony more special. The people who were involved in this event were The Ambassador of Timor-Leste with his committee, students of ELTO programs, Timor-Leste NZ Aid students, teachers of ELTO, New Zealander volunteers in Timor-Leste and other audiences from New Zealand. 
Sue Chamberlain was a volunteer in Empresa Diak in Timor-Leste and as an event organizer explained about where the money will be donated.
“The money that we raised will be sent to the Timor-Leste artists who did the exhibited paintings and some of it will be sent back to Red Cross in Timor Leste and some money will be sent to some mothers to look after the children. My money is going to Abrao Guterres to complete his degree in University of Timor. He is a very hard working guy who set up the program to help other students for practising English. He deserves to get our help”.
The exhibition gave us motivation to not give up on something valuable in life because there are still many people who care about Timor-Leste and love the products of Timor-Leste. Due to the success of this event, Sue thought that they might repeat it again in the future because people are interested to come and they enjoyed it so much. 
ELTO teacher Shelley Dawson enjoys the artwork
VSA Volunteer Pip Desmond
Timor Leste exhibits on show