"I feel like I am starting a new life in a good way" - Mary MacKillop Today

“I feel like I am starting a new life in a good way”

One of the greatest challenges women face in Timor-Leste is achieving financial independence.

The economic disadvantage starts early on in life, particularly for those living in remote and rural communities, where many girls miss out on opportunities to go to school and get an education. The flow-on effect is that these girls grow up into women who struggle to find employment to provide for themselves and their families.

From our experience at Mary MacKillop Today, we’ve seen that when women have equal access to education and employment, their entire communities’ benefit.

That’s why our Cooperative BEHAFU Project aims to set people up with the necessary skills and resources needed to support their families in the future. The Cooperative BEHAFU is a credit union for group members, who are mostly women, in remote areas of Timor-Leste. Members can access workshops, mentoring, and financial resources to earn money through businesses they run themselves.

The Cooperative BEHAFU currently has 87 members, consisting of 71 women and 16 men. It’s been wonderful to see 62 of these members personally access low-interest loans to fund income generation activities and turn their dreams into reality.

Meet Rosita, a member of the BEHAFU Cooperative group.

Rosita lives with her eight children in a remote village in Timor-Leste. She was happy to share her experience as part of the BEHAFU Cooperative group.

Rosita, a proud member of BEHAFU

“With the training I have received through the BEHAFU Cooperative group, I can solve my problems because I understand how I should manage my money.

One of the advantages of being a member of the Cooperative is that all members can save money and take money to do business.

I have taken money and bought flour, oil, sugar, and made cakes to sell. Some of the money is also used to buy vegetable seeds to be replanted during the rainy season. From vegetables I can sell and pay for the needs of the house and children’s schooling, such as laptops.

There will always be money if suddenly my children need to buy books and shoes.

The cooperative helps to alleviate our difficulties.

I feel like I am starting a new life in a good way.” (translated)

Thank you for your generous support to give more women like Rosita the opportunity to build a more fulfilling, independent life for themselves!


This project is supported by the Terrace Timor Network (TTN).