Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Next BMETS Garage Sale is on Saturday October 25th at 8A Russell Rd, Leura.
We are collecting donations of quality goods now (no encyclopaedias, text books printers or mattresses)- drop at the site please.
Volunteers welcomed with open arms - especially to help set-up on Friday 24th or clean up after 2.00pm on Saturday.
Next BMETS meeting is on Monday November 3rd at 7pm in Lawson.
Enquiries Mary 0403257519

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Next BMETS Meeting is Monday September 1st at MCRN Lawson

Thursday, August 07, 2014

BMETS Timor-Leste sister organisation APSC-TL has a new AVI Corinne Roberts - here on her first day at the office with her partner Sam and Laura, Beba and Odete! Welcome Corinne - we hope your two year placement is great. You couldnt be with a better bunch of women!

BMETS Book Sale Yields Results

Over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd August BMETS held its booksale to raise funds for projects in East Timor.
It was a huge success with thousands of books for sale. We would like to thank our donors, volunteers, buyers and helpers. We could not do it without you!

Particular thanks to Manas Ruth and Wendy (see photo above) who worked tirelessly to sort and organise over 300 cartons of books. We also thank their families for providing space in their homes for this mammoth undertaking.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters Book Sale - Collecting now!

Give us your read books and we will turn them into scholarships, literacy programs and pre-school development in Timor –Leste. We want your books asap so we can sort them – please deliver to Ruth’s at 8 Westbourne Ave, Wentworth Falls (47571953) before July 21st. (Please no encyclopaedias, text books, videos, magazines or damaged books).
The Book Sale will be held on Saturday August 2nd & Sunday 3rd 2014 at Blackheath Community Hall.
Volunteers to help set up on Friday 1st and to assist over the weekend will be very welcome – this is a wonderful way to meet others interested in a better world.
Over 100 women in Timor Leste have gained University qualifications thanks to the work of Blue Mountains
East Timor Sisters and their legendary Book Sales. The Sisters collect donations from the local community demonstrating the best of community spirit. These Book Sales are a great place to find a treasure, link with  friends and give a contribution that really make a difference in the lives of our nearest overseas neighbours.
Ring Gabrielle 0418245467 or Ruth 47571953 to assist.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Garage Sale Fund-raiser Saturday 10th August 9am - 3pm

The next BMETS garage sale will be Saturday 10th August 9am - 3pm at 8a Russell Road, Leura. Again we are looking for good quality donations that we can turn into cash to support projects in East Timor for women and children. Volunteers to help sort, set-up and pack up are always welcome. Please call Suzie for more information or simply deliver your goods and arrive at the above location.
Suzie van Opdorp,
0415 689 935

East Timor's Vice Minister for Primary and Basic Education Visits the Mountains

Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters and the BMCC East Timor Friendship group are pleased to announce a visit by East Timor's Vice Minister for Primary and Basic Education, Dulcie Soares, to the Blue Mountains.  
Mrs Soares will be speaking at a community forum being held on Saturday August 3rd at 1.30pm at the Blue Mtns Cultural Centre. She will be discussing the  achievements and challenges of early childhood Education in East Timor.
The forum will be followed by afternoon tea and, at 3pm, a Mayoral Reception, hosted by Blue Mtns Mayor Daniel Myles.
The story of the re-birth of East Timor as one of the planet's newest nations is a very exciting one. With the tumult of the 1999 referendum behind them, the Timorese have identified education as the key to their nation's future sustainability and security. Mrs Soares will be talking about the inherent challenges involved in this process.
Please join us. Feel free to call for further information.
Suzie van Opdorp,

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Communities Confront Domestic Violence in East Timor

“If the dispute is not that serious, if it is just slapping and there is no blood, we just let the family work it out,” says an elderly customary leader, Norberto Tomas, addressing a group of 50 community members gathered for the inauguration of a community space in the village of Maudemo, in the southwestern District of Covalima in rural Timor-Leste. “Sometimes, they might need to talk to the village or hamlet leader to solve the problem.”

Hearing this, Sergeant Amelia Rodrigues immediately jumps out of her chair holding a copy of the Law against Domestic Violence, and begins reading the clause that would apply to this situation. “Slapping is domestic violence! And domestic violence is not just physical. There is economic, sexual and emotional violence also, and these are public crimes,” she intervenes. “You always need to bring cases like this to the police,” she stresses.

Sergeant Rodrigues is the Commander of the Vulnerable Person’s Unit (VPU) of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), stationed in Covalima, a seven-hour drive from the capital, Dili. The Unit is usually the first point of contact for survivors, depending on their needs at the time.

Sgt. Rodrigues, 40, wanted to be a police officer since childhood. She worked as an activist in Covalima during the resistance movement throughout the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999). She recalls that women’s organizations active during that time, such as Fokupers, one of UN Women’s local NGO partners, gave her confidence to pursue her dream of being a police officer.

When survivors approach her for help, they don’t approach her because she is a woman, but because of her long-term commitment to supporting survivors as a member of the community referral network and as a police officer.

Maudemo’s proximity to the Indonesian border makes it prone to conflict, as well as human and drug trafficking. The area experienced heavy fighting and conflict during its occupation and struggle for liberation. [1] The region has a high rate of sexual and gender-based violence, which may be attributed in part to women’s geographic isolation. [2] The communities reached by UN Women and NGO partners are generally far away from the police stations, and road access to certain areas becomes impossible during the wet season, usually lasting about five months out of the year.

After documenting a violence report, Sgt. Rodrigues then brings survivors to a referral network in Covalima that guides them through the steps of recovery, both physically and emotionally, as well as supporting them through legal proceedings, should they choose to pursue a case through the justice system.

The network is composed of 35 organizations that work at the community level to provide support to self-help groups, providing training sessions on agriculture and fishing, and opportunities to develop employment-related skills such as English, computer literacy, and continuing education for youth. Through the network, various community spaces in the villages have been established to create physical locations for women’s self-help groups to meet and increase their income-generating activities, and to mediate interpersonal conflicts before they escalate into violence. There are five such spaces in Covalima.

UN Women, together with its national NGO partner the Asia Pacific Support Collective in Timor-Leste (APSCTL), is supporting these women’s self-help groups and has mobilized a group of female and male peace agents, including Sgt. Rodrigues in the two most-western districts in Timor-Leste, Covalima and Bobonaro.

“Before the self-help groups started, we were just staying at home and cooking for our husbands,” said one participant. “Now with the groups, we are working, earning money and know we can do other things.”

At the recent inauguration of one of these spaces in Maudemo, community members spoke about their participation in agricultural events and training on leadership, among other opportunities that resulted from their collaboration as a group. They also had a chance to talk with Sgt. Rodrigues about their own encounters with violence and the law.

“I know of a case where a woman called the police, and they didn’t answer the phone,” remarked a participant. “She called them again and they said they would come and pick her up, but no one ever came.”

Sgt. Rodrigues encouraged the entire community, to call her directly when something like this happens. She has a reputation in the community of being so committed to helping survivors that even though she does not drive a car or a motorbike, she will walk on foot to pick up a survivor if they call her for help.

“If you are being hurt, call me,” she said. “I will come and pick you up and take you to a safe place. I will help you report the police who don’t take your calls to a higher authority. It is our job to take your case seriously and to help you get to the Prosecutor’s Office.”

At the close of the community meeting, Sgt. Rodrigues was surrounded by people asking for her phone number.

“We, as police, are paid by the State to perform these duties,” she said. “I am here to help survivors use the referral network, get medical treatment if they need it, and get counseling to be able to feel better after their trauma. I help them take their cases through the Prosecutor’s Office. This is why I became a police officer.”

To ensure that police officers are aware of their responsibilities and the reach of the 2010 Domestic Violence law, UN Women, along with UN, government and civil society partners have also been supporting awareness-raising of the legislation among the national police and other key actors.

Back in the district capital, Suai, the Coordinator of the Referral Network, Quintino da Costa remarked on the impact of the work of Sgt. Rodrigues and the network since the 2010 passage of national Domestic Violence legislation, saying “everyone knows now that domestic violence is not good. It’s a crime. That’s common knowledge.”

Rodrigues added, “I have a list of the 38 perpetrators that have been sentenced and imprisoned. This tracking list is a sign of success for me, that the law is being implemented.”

Monday, April 08, 2013

Next BMETS Garage Sale 11th May 9 - 3pm

The next BMETS garage sale will be held Saturday 11th May from 9 - 3pm at 8a Russell Road,Leura. Your quality donations are needed now. You can deliver at any time. Simply drive down the driveway and deliver to the carport at the back.

We take a wide range of good quality items but please no text books, VHS videos, magazines, old technology (except that which might be 'collectable').

Generally we are unable to collect items but appreciate your generous donations.

For more information please call Suzie on 0415 689 935.