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Empowering women to become role models in their communities

Mother-of-eight Sousa is a force for change in her community.

As a ChildFund Community Health Volunteer, the 33-year-old is an inspiring role model to the women and girls in her remote village in Timor-Leste, helping families ensure their children can grow up safe and healthy.

She plays an important role, organising support groups to ensure mothers know how to best care for themselves and their children. She also regularly visits parents in their homes to monitor the growth and basic health of their children. If there are any signs of childhood illnesses or malnutrition, it is Sousa who will raise the alarm and refer the family to a health professional.

With the support of the Australian Government, ChildFund Timor-Leste is training female Community Health Volunteers like Sousa in remote disadvantaged villages and helping to empower women to become leaders and make a difference in their communities.

“Since I joined ChildFund’s activities I learnt the right nutrition and care for children aged five and under,” Sousa says. “I share the knowledge that I learnt during my training to other women in my community.”

Sousa also helps her husband on the family farm, growing maize, squash, peanut and string beans, and makes tais, a traditional woven cloth, (pictured above in main photo) to sell at the markets.

Her priorities, however, are being there for her children when they need her, and her work as a Community Health Volunteer.


Community Health Volunteer Sousa and her 14-month-old son Caikoro and her daughter Paya koro, age 3.

While Sousa says she and her husband share the household chores, it is not always so fair in other families in her community. She wants to empower more women in her community and for those with children, she wants to make sure they have the opportunities to be the best mothers possible.

“Women should be able to work, and involve themselves in various activities to gain information that will benefit the community,” Sousa says.

“My hope for women now and in the future is that they will get involved in the training that I help provide as a Community Health Volunteer so that they can become good mothers.”

Sousa wants to empower more women in her community and for those with children, she wants to make sure they have the opportunities to be the best mothers possible. “My hope for women now and in the future is that they will get involved in the training that I provide as a Community Health Volunteer so that they can become good mothers,” she says.

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