Katrina Powell - 'Uma'

Katrina's story as a volunteer in East Timor led to her re-examining her concept of home. Katrina felt so ‘at home’ in East Timor and the people of that war ravaged nation took her in to their homes and hearts.

This is a story of much pain but of courage and presence in that pain, of listening, of ‘being there’ and of discovering in relationship with some of the poorest people on this planet – the gift of ‘home’ – of a place where one can feel valued, important and grow in your sense of self.
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'Uma': Katrina's Response Tips

Short term: Read the book "An Independent Woman" by Kirsty Sword Gusmao to gain insight into East Timor’s struggle for independence through the personal story of the first lady of East Timor.

Medium term: Learn more about the history of occupation by Indonesia and the process of independence in East Timor by reading people’s stories on the truth and reconciliation website.

Longer term: Familiarise yourself with the United Nation's Millenium Development Goals and their aims in majority world countries like East Timor.

Short term: Wear a Make Poverty History wristband and encourage others you know to do the same.

Medium term: Advocate for the Australian Government to honour its commitment to raise foreign aid to 0.7% of GDP.

Longer term: Encourage conversations and dialogue around the Millennium Development Goals with key people in your community. This could include inviting candidates in your electorate to a function where they explain their stance on the MDGs.

Short term: Use photos from East Timor or another majority world country where you have a connection as a screen saver on your computer so that each time you see them you remember the people there.

Medium term: Gather friends and family to celebrate the anniversary of independence in East Timor on 20 May. Connect with the local Timorese community in your area and celebrate!

Longer term: Develop a twinning relationship between your community (workplace, church, and neighbourhood) and a community in East Timor. Organisations like The Alola Foundation can help.

Short term: Buy Fairtrade and Justice Products like coffee and chocolate that provide just wages to farmers in countries like East Timor.

Medium term: Join or create a fair-trade Christmas shopping tour to places like Oxfam, Good Sheppard Trading Circle. Invite family, friends and work colleagues to join you in buying presents that help trade women out of poverty. Companies like Justice Products can be a good start. When you are making decisions in your life, do as Ghandi did and first think of the poorest person that you know, then ask yourself how your decisions will impact on them. Ensure that the impact is positive!

Longer term: Join a volunteer program for a year and spend some time supporting the development of East Timor.

Here are some websites to help you on your way:

www.australianvolunteers.com

www.edmundrice.org

www.palms.org.au

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