March 17, 2001
The OPMT is FRETILIN's women's organisation and emerged from their clandestine existence at the FRETILIN Conference in Dili in May 2000. They have been dealing with the impact of Indonesian rule that has dominated their lives for the past 25 years culminating in the violence around the UN sponsored Popular Consultations in 1999. It is these women who have been dealing with those who have been severely psychologically and/or physically traumatised. They have been helping address the needs of women who are the main carers of children (many of whom are orphans), the injured, sick and the elderly. They have a vision for how the new country can support the people's needs. The leaders have expressed the urgent need for OPMT members to learn English so that women can better participate in the political development of their country.
The Alice Springs Friends of East Timor (ASFOET) [based in Australia] has responded, with help from individuals and the [Australian] National Tertiary Education Union, to sponsor properly qualified ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers to develop a course for both OPMT leaders and FRETILIN. Two teachers returned from a two month program last year, and confirmed the importance of continuing this program.
ASFOET require ESL adult educators who
can spend periods of around 2 months working on the program in Fretilin's
office in Dili. Travel costs and living expenses will be provided. Travel
costs and some living expenses will be provided. If you are an qualified
and experienced ESL teacher and are interested in volunteering to work
on this program then contact:
* either Deb or Bob of Alice Springs Friends of East Timor Phone 08 8953 1668; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations are welcome to help pay the costs for this work. Contact Deb or Bob if you would like to contribute.
[Please note that Deb, Bob and the Alice
Springs Friends of East Timor are all volunteers. As such they
do not have the resources of an NGO to respond to offers from ESL teachers
interested in work in East Timor. They are simply trying to facilitate
much needed support for OPMT and FRETILIN from Australia. Patience and
courtesy are recommended. BD]
"The future for young women in Timor is, I think, important. For women, and for me being a member of OPMT, is important because I want know about problems of women together with comrades like those senior women in OPMT who organise OPMT. In my opinion when I finish course OPMT I will teach other women that don't follow or become members of OPMT. This is if organisation is legal so hope Timorese women can arrange good future."
"In December 1975 when the Indonesian forces invaded East Timor my parents & I ran to the mountain. Over there we learnt many, many things in the political school. We learnt to cultivate in the agricultural cooperatives, take the rifle, and learnt information school from nurse arrive 6 month. After we practice there in the hospital for injection to people sick as Falantil, that force Indonesian shoot, with and traditional medicines and stronger medicines. Again, after 1979 years we continue Indonesia school to for 1985 years. After now we continue jobs always and organisation OPMT, we now learn studying English."
FRETILIN is organising a Congress in early 2001 to develop its political program, and plan its election strategies. For this it needs assistance with a range of goods, as well as financial support to help get delegates to the Congress, accommodate and feed them. FRETILIN remains the main mass party of the people of East Timor and is in the process of reorganising itself as an open and democratic political party after more than 20 years as a clandestine organisation with leadership in the mountains, or overseas.
The FRETILIN Conference in May 2000 confirmed the organisation as the most significant force in East Timor that could carry the aspirations of the majority of ordinary people. More than 2,000 delegates representative of all districts in the country attended.
Financial Support is needed urgently to
assist FRETILIN to organise their upcoming Congress which will set the
political platform and strategies for the elections 2001. If you can assist
either Deb or Bob of Alice Springs Friends of East Timor Phone 08 8953 1668; Email email@example.com
OPMT: The Popular Organisation of East Timorese Women / Organizacao Popular de Mulher Timor
OPMT is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO)
Short History: This organisation emerged in 1975, to promote the emancipation of women in all aspects of life, appropriate to their evolving role in East Timor.
Current situation and primary needs: Our current needs include the general need for social action such as giving assistance to those who need it.
Current Activities: Social action (periodic).
Plans: We plan to undertake activities in three districts.
See also: OPMT Sewing Program in Timor Loro Sa'e