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New Livelihoods for 150 Artisans in Timor-Leste

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

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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Woman producing the traditional pots
Woman producing the traditional pots

These past months we have been dedicated to the work of the wonderful pottery makers of the Arlo Village in Atauro.

This pottery is still made using the memories of how the process was done more than 50 years ago. Not long ago, the art of producing sanan rai (clay pot) was nearly lost as locals began to prefer to purchase cheaper metal imports rather than the clay cooking pots made in Arlo and traditionally used by villagers all over the island of Atauro. 

Through providing ongoing training, support, and access to markets, Empreza Di'ak is aiding in the cultural preservation of the community and helping villagers become economically self-sustainable through creating their local products. 

With the support of our volunteer pottery expert we have been designing new processes that follow the tradition to improve the quality of the final product so that it can be again used for it’s main purpose – to cook. Our volunteer has been testing some different combinations of the raw material and improving the tools to work together with the women of the community and train them on how to produce better pots.

 

Together with the effort to keep the traditions alive we are also aware of the importance of diversifying products to improve income therefore, together with the training on traditional techniques we are developing resources for a more ‘’modern’’ approach with a different group of women. We are working on developing new pottery products and design with more modern production techniques. 

 

The women are very enthusiastic with this new opportunity and are already thinking of the new designs they aspire to make!

 

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! If you are visiting Atauro, talk to us to know more about the handicraft workshops.

Sorting the tools for production
Sorting the tools for production
Two generations working together
Two generations working together
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Maun Tomas developing prototypes for new products
Maun Tomas developing prototypes for new products

With your continuous support, we have been able to create new opportunities by designing and developing innovative products, strengthening our commitment to create new livelihood opportunities for the remote communities of Atauro.

Since one of our main ambitions is to help reduce plastic in Timor-Leste by supporting the zero plastic policy, maun Tomas – Makadade community focal point and our sewing trainer - joined our creative team to develop eco-friendly products, using upcycled materials that the communities can found around the island, recycling what would otherwise become plastic waste and avoiding it to end in our precious oceans.

To produce these new designs it was necessary to test new sewing techniques. With the help of maun Tomas we were able to develop several products such as napkin holders made from rice bags and reusable shopping and produce bags. After testing and prototyping, Tomas trained the women in Atauro these sewing techniques and how to make the new designs so they can start producing it. You can now find these new products in our shops.

You can follow 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.

Testing new upcycled designs
Testing new upcycled designs
New products - straw case with upcycled banners
New products - straw case with upcycled banners
New products - reusable produce bags
New products - reusable produce bags
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Celebrating Women's International in Uaro-ana
Celebrating Women's International in Uaro-ana

With your support 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 communities.

Last February we launched the Handicraft Workshops at our center in Atauro, a new offer on social tourism, where visitors can meet the wonderful artisans of the island and be trained by them on traditional handicraft techniques. These workshops aim to value the cultural heritage, knowledge and artistic skills of Atauro’s artisans and, at the same time, it is a new source of income for the remote communities of the island.

On 8 of March we joined the global celebration for the International Women’s Day. In the beautiful island of Atauro our staff, volunteers and interns celebrated this special day with the amazing women from Uaro-ana, discussing gender equality and women’s role in their community.

We feel very lucky to have such strong women in our team working with strong women of Atauro! As Michelle Obama stated “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish”

You can follow 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.

Learning how to make a Katupa
Learning how to make a Katupa
Handicraft Workshop in Atauro
Handicraft Workshop in Atauro
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Organization Information

Empreza Diak

Location: Dili - East Timor
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @emprezadiak
Project Leader:
Maria Amado
Dili, East Timor

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