To honour volunteer spirit in Timor-Leste, national and international volunteer organizations will host a participatory Kick Off event
I am Hazel Cayenne, I am a Trinidadian. by birth. My country is similar in population to the country East Timor, where I worked as a United Nations Volunteer #122438 three times around. We, like Timor have a population of just approximately one million three hundred thousand people.
I was selected in 1999 to assist in the Popular Consultation in East Timor and with the help of the United Nations Timorese people were given the opportunity to be able to go to the polls after being ruled by the Indonesians who occupied their land for so long.
I worked in a wonderful little village called Manufahi. The people showed such great humility even though conditions were poor; their warm greetings of “Bon Dias Missy” really moved me. I remembered one morning in July of ’99 it was really very cold and I looked out the window from the home where I stayed with my team leader, I was totally mesmerized by what I saw, there was this family of about eleven people all stooping in the yard around a wood fire huddled together just trying to absorb the warmth to their frail bodies, as I was told that around that time of the year is the coldest period. I was really moved as that certainly brought back memories at Christmas time in my country.
I felt honored to assist in the registering of all those legible to vote and admired the way they turned up with documents even though some came without but was wise enough to bring someone as a witness, also many of them were unable to read or write; ‘voter education’ was the key to decision making for the people of East Timor. I, like my team leader made sure everything was in keeping with the rule of law, being very transparent, making sure the process was carried out in a free and fair manner so that the people were able to exercise their rights on “D DAY.”
The Indonesian Malitias were outraged by the outcome of the referendum which brought on the unrest. I received calls after I returned home to my country in 1999 from some UN volunteers who updated me on the happenings. I was told all documents were destroyed and many buildings were burnt flat to the ground, I was devastated by the sad news I received.
I was extremely anxious when I was selected to return in 2000 to Timor; but I was really moved to tears when I got there and saw the devastation, while I learnt some of them ran to the hills for safety, many lives were lost. I was called upon to assist in the registering of the entire population in preparation for new elections. It was a challenge but just knowing I was able to assist in the development and rebuilding of a country that prayed and fought for freedom, made me feel a sense of pride, as a Volunteer. The people came out in their numbers and for this I highly commend their passion for freedom and being able to have the desire to want to run their own country.
Once more in 2007 I was selected to do my civic duty as a UN Volunteer in Timor also there was another uprising in 2006, one well known grocery “Hello Mister” was burnt flat, I was saddened by what I saw because jobs were so scarce when I left in 2001. I felt somewhat elated though when I saw some young Timorese boys and girls working so diligently trying to make an honest living, also in 2007 I saw a brighter future ahead for the children whereby they were all attending schools and those who had reached secondary education being given the opportunity to attend the University in Dili. Jobs were being made possible by the assistance of International Intervention which helped to boost the economy for a better East Timor.
In summing up I can attest that Timor Leste is a beautiful country with a beautiful people, there’s one thing I do hope would be addressed for the people in the rural areas like Manufahi where I was deployed in 1999, that equality for all be shown so that the people can experience a better way of life for their families, especially in education and job creation which would definitely pave the way for greater productivity.
I can definitely say that volunteering is the key towards the achievement of sustainable development in countries like Timor Leste that look forward to ongoing support from us. Working along with communities and different organizations allow you to see what is being done for the future and from what I have experienced, I am assured that democracy is alive and well in that country.
I feel one must respond to the challenge of globalization to effectively reach out to as many people as possible, that instructed my decision to work as a Volunteer. Opening me to the world’s changes through the United Nations Volunteer programme allows me to compare and contrast their culture with the arts and technologies, language, beliefs, customs, philosophies, and ways of living of other people. By observing and questioning another culture, I can understand the origin of an individual’s viewpoints and become more sensitive to the cultural needs of that individual. By continually exposing myself to other cultures, I feel I can thoroughly develop this global perspective and devote my skills and ability. I establish and maintain productive partnerships with people by gaining their trust and respect, as well as to identify needs and match them to appropriate solutions. I possess the abilities to monitor ongoing developments inside and outside the community environments to keep informed and anticipate.
I am Victor Chinweze, a Nigerian. I served in the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor Leste from 2007 to 2011. The 2007 elections in Timor-Leste were very demanding on the UNMIT communications infrastructure and manpower. They entailed regular visits to the districts, driving through narrow, winding roads carved through the mountainous terrain of Timor-Leste carrying various bits of equipment to connect the electoral staff with the Mission’s communications network.
After the elections it became important to 'tidy-up' the entire system. I played an integral part in reassessing and optimizing the infrastructure. Again this meant continuous visits to the regions to effect system installations or recover equipment, devices and PABXs where they were less effective and put in different connections…
My work in UNMIT had been enriching culturally, professionally and exposing by my interaction with the host community. I participated in and identified with most community work and activities such as national days, carnivals, cultural/religious observations, environmental sanitation(clean-up) etc. This became facilitated by my ability to learn, speak and understand the local language(Tetum) and by so doing, developed greater trust and confidence with the host community. We all shared our hopes and aspirations, which I believe helped build trust, peace and tranquility, hence contributing in no small measure to the fulfillment of the mandate of the UN mission in Timor Leste.
Prior to my UNV deployment, I worked in the area of ICT Services, office and business equipment sales and services in private companies in Nigeria. These exposed me to working without supervision within a given time frame to fully achieve a purpose built systems installations and networking. And that culminated in my participation in the Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) during 2002 as a UNV volunteer PABX System Technician.
Being a UNV volunteer has accorded me the opportunity to lend a helping hand in places where human capital is needed. I am glad I have contributed my little quota to the betterment of places in crisis. I have always strived to make a difference and my volunteer experience has offered me these great opportunities to work towards a better humanity.
I have been able to work and integrate into societies with diverse cultures and languages and have learnt the art of respect for the laws of the land and individuals, irrespective of class, gender, creed or country.
I have also worked with different professionals from different parts of the world, which called for deep understanding and respect for one another. I have earned tremendous on-the-job experience and training, thus enhancing my professionalism in the field.
Working as a volunteer has really taxed my capabilities, since targets have to be met, sometimes under tight schedules and difficult conditions. All the same it has always been a worthwhile experience to be part of the global effort towards peace and progress for all people.
I volunteer as an admin manager for VIDA a water purification company in Timor Leste, Vida is a struggling organization that is ran by one man, I was fortunate to run into him at a gathering, I told him I was looking for a job, we talked and I got to know about the company, I decided to put in my time while hoping for another opportunity. I volunteer as a admin manager, because I saw the need for clean water in Timor Leste, its been really inspiring being able to give my time for the provision of clean water to the communities in some of the smaller district in the country.
I also was able to train young women in hair dressing skills in Nigeria seeing the usefulness of knowing a trade that can help better ones life without waiting for the government, I started a hair dressing salon that actually helped me pay my tuition fees while studying, I decided to share that knowledge with some young ladies around my neighborhood am happy to say giving my time to train them is one of my greatest achievement because it did help some of them that would have probably ended on the street, but were able to learn the skill and are using it presently as a source of income and its changed their lives and still changing lives, most of them are still passing on the knowledge to others.
With UNV at Kosovo, I was surprised to work in a very cold country. While I took off the plane, the hail came down, I felt shaking and pain in my ears. At night, I asked the landlord to take me buying a coat at a shop to use, unfortunately it was a big and long ones which is not fit to me, but I have to take it.
During registration period, people were eager to come to registration center for their Identity Card and for the election. Day to day, registration team received many people and moving from place to place for the convenience.
At Liberia, during the election date, I did not take any rest nor sleeping for the whole day and night with my counterpart and all electoral staffs in order to make sure that the ballot papers are in the ballot boxes and sealed correctly before taking them to the Tally Center. People came to wait in front of the polling center since the dawn before the poll was started.
At East Timor, in voter education period, I and my team went to a remote area on the top of the mountain and use the loud speaker to call people for the information of election. I climbed up a tree to shout for gathering people who resided up and down of the mount. Some places, I have to drive crossing the flowing river following the step of my team who walked in the water up to their waist.
At Sudan (Southern Sudan), voter education took a long time to conduct workshop, seminar, training, meeting, conference at NGO center, Government hall, community field, church and mosque area, under the tree and tukul of people.
Posters, leaflets, stickers, banners, shirts, caps, bags, rubber bands, skirts and flip charts were distributed during dissemination for people to understand and feel free to cast the vote.
Voter education is the key for people to realise and understand about election and referendum. Sudanese had a successful of these 2 events.
I feel proud myself to be UNV member which I can share and exchange my knowledge and experiences with people in the world.
It is important for every human being to act responsible in order to create peace and and justice for those who are in the difficult situation.
Last year i did my internship with the United Nations Development Program in East Timor by working along with Government institution to build peace and development in East Timor.
I have been in Timor-Leste since 2010.
When I came to the country from Nigeria I discovered that the level of education was very low here.
What I did was to register my organization through the ministry of Justice in Timor-leste. An NGO. through it I have been teaching and training citizens of Timor-leste in various areas of academic feild.
The name of my NGO is Donimo training center.
As at this month of may 2012 we have a maxium of 785 students all are Timor-Lestes. I and my team focus on (1) English(2)Management(3) Business Administratio(4)Accounting(5)Computer(6) HIV/AIDS awarness program.
From Mrs Jula Lucky Okpara
Back in 2001-2002 it was my first UNV assignment in East Timor for the first constituent assembly election and presidential election. Playing the role of the IT support for the election it was a great honor to me for working together with multinational co-workers for the good of Timorese People. It was very nice and mind broadening experience in my life.
In 2007-2008 I was very happy again participating in the Timorese Electoral Cycle project. I felt I did my best by serving my professional service for the peace and development of Timorese People.
As a UNV I served in East Timor in 1999 in preparation of the Referendum on Aug 30th 1999. From June 1999 to August 30th as UNV Distict Electoral Officers we worked hard every day interacting with the all the East Timor people teaching them about Political Freedom and the coming United Nations Referendum. I had to organize the Koto Boro Tirilolo Baucau District plus 6 distant villages with the help and Bravery of the young men and women of Baucau who I as a UNV had selected for this World Changing UNV Assignment.
I and other UNVs armed purely with our knowledge of UN Electoral Procedures and our sheer force of personality interacted with all the East Timor people young or old even though we were under the watchful eyes of the Armed to the Teeth Indonesian Army and their Cruel Civil Militia. We were like Father-Mother-Brother-Sister to the East Timor people and they trusted us UNVs as they would their own Family, they trusted that we would never let them down. Eventually because of the Indonesian Army and their Militia attacking the East Timor people in their homes and towns and churches we UNVs were Evacuated to Royal Australian Air Force in Darwin, who had kindly looked after us UNVs before going to East Timor and kindly looked after us after our Evacuation.
"We UNVs did not let the East Timor people down and we will not, "Ever"
And so because of the professionalism, dedication and sheer hard work of a small number of International UNVs a New Country was born to the World,"Imagine that"
Later as a UNV I served in Kosovo 1999/2002 and Afghanistan 2004/5. I love the people of the world and will always support the United Nations ethos of Political Freedom, Justice and Reconciliation for all peoples of the world.
Where ever in the world I have served as a UNV and where ever I will serve as a United Nations Voluteer again it was and will always be an Honour to Serve.
James Baird Haddow
Exeter, Devon, England. UK
25 May 12
I am professional electrical engineer in this meritocratic world, volunteering in East – Timor,
Presently pursuing M.Sc. to further my post graduate education.
I coordinated and supervised the proclamation of April 22, 2012, as International Mother Earth Day with St. Mary Child Development Centre pre-School Director and Head teacher in Dili, to create environmental awareness and acknowledgement that the earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance.
This environmental awareness campaign recognizes a special child collective responsive and responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmonization with nature and the Earth to accomplish a just equilibrium among the economic social and environmental awareness need of present and future generations of humankind.
Key points dramatically demonstrated by pre-school kids of St. Mary Child Development Centre are:
i.On this special day we appreciate and increase awareness of the Earth ‘s natural Environment
ii.This days we remain ourselves and brings new generation that we stem the flow of environmental disaster to present the true picture clearly and practically
iii.Children demonstrated and have taking this initiatives to ensure safe and clean environment like their playground, homes, backyard, schools, garden, kitchen, bedroom, offices, free from trash.
iv.The drawing contest were part of collection of St. Mary Child Development Centre, kids artwork to demonstrate a clear picture of a paper quit for Mother Earth, with symbolize caring for Mother Earth for my family and friends around the earth
v.Without a sustainable environmental foundation, we will have very small expectation of attaining our goals and objectives for reducing poverty and starvation and improving health care centre and humanity
Regards, Austin Kpoto