Stories of Change

Clementina and her daughter.

CWS is expanding our Timor Zero Hunger program from West Timor, Indonesia, into neighboring Timor-Leste.

“I’m happy CWS is here”

In a remote village high in the mountains of Timor-Leste live Clementina Pintu dos Santosher, Bernadus Lalus and their two young children. Their village isn’t too far from Timor-Leste’s capital city of Dili, but their life is anything but cosmopolitan.

Life is hard for this young family. Bernadus works odd jobs for a few dollars at a time. Clementina has no income. The family is too poor to afford a motorbike, so it takes them five hours by foot to reach the larger town closest to their home – there is no public transportation.

Earlier this year, Clementina was invited to join the CWS Timor Zero Hunger program, which is expanding into Timor-Leste from neighboring West Timor, which is part of Indonesia. Clementina immediately took the opportunity to improve her family’s situation. She was one of 100 people who learned how to raise chickens well – how to vaccinate them, cage them to keep them from being preyed on by wild animals and feed them well so that they produce healthy eggs and hatch healthy chicks. She and Bernadus then built a coop for the hens and rooster that CWS provided as part of the project.

When we talked to Clementina recently, she told us, ““I don’t speak Indonesian or Tetumome, I just speak our local dialect, but some neighbors translated for me and others, so we could understand everything. For me, this was the first opportunity I have ever had to join a learning group like this, and I’m happy CWS is here because no other outside organization or government agency is helping us improve our lives. The whole community here is very poor, especially the families who have no regular paid work.”

Clementina has made a promise to herself: she will grow her flock so that she can sell eggs and chicks and earn money to support her family. More importantly, she will grow her flock so that she can have more nutritious food for her two-year-old and four-year-old children. (This also happens to be one of they key aims of the Timor Zero Hunger program, through which we partner with parents to support the wellness and well-being of young children.)