Real lives: Meet Ana in Timor-Leste
Opportunities for women to earn an income can be limited in remote Timor-Leste, and it’s even harder for women like Ana, who is living with a disability. Joining a savings group helped Ana to achieve her dream of saving enough money to open a business.
Ana lives in the Oecusse region of Timor-Leste. Apart from a short period working as a guesthouse cleaner several years ago, she has struggled to earn an income and relies on her parents for money.
In April 2021, Ana learned about a savings group operating in her village as part of Oxfam’s Hakbi’it project, through our local partner Masine Neu Oecusse.
She eagerly joined the local group, called Romansa.
Right from the start, she felt welcomed and looked forward to the weekly meetings.
“As a young person with a disability in this group, I never experienced discrimination from other members, because Romansa values strong team collaboration.”
Through the group, Ana achieved her dream of saving $50. She then used her newfound financial knowledge and business training to open a kiosk next to her house, where she sells food and household items.
“I felt a big change in my life … I could leave behind my life where I was unemployed and not productive to build a kiosk and continue to save money for my next dream. One big change is that I can now manage my money,” Ana said.
About the project
In Timor-Leste, Oxfam’s project Hakbi’it (which means “empower” in the local language of Tetum) is supporting women in rural areas to gain more control over their lives, earn a steady income and amplify their voices in public. Hakbi’it is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
Our local partners
This project is delivered with support from our local partners, including Asosiasaun Futuru Foinsa’e Sustentabilidade, Binibu Faef Nome, Empreza Di’ak, Kdadalak Sulimutuk Institute, Masine Neu Oecusse, and Ra’es Hadomi Timor Oan.
Highlights for 2022-2023
This year, the Hakbi’it project launched 26 new savings groups, taking the total number of savings groups to 73.
Collectively, 972 savings group members have saved AUD $259,598 to date, which they are investing in their own businesses.