In April 2018 ATLAS was approached by the Carmelite Sisters at Fatuhada for financial support to assist in stage 1 of setting up of a Sewing Room for the education and training of women. The rationale presented at the time was: Timor-Leste is a very poor country with a high unemployment rate among women. The project began as a way of educating and training women in a skill which would enhance their dignity, provide a way of making an income, assist them to provide for their families and contribute to their wider community.
After consideration, ATLAS agreed to finance stage 1 of the proposal and provided USD 11,334.00 for first stage of the project. This covered the purchase of sewing machines, materials, scissors, rulers and other resources as well as a computer and printer.
Visits from representative of ATLAS in subsequent years, showed the Sewing Room being well used for the production of garments including school uniforms.
In the first part of 2021, during which time Timor-Leste was in a state of emergency or lockdown due to the disastrous flood and COVID-19, the Sewing room proved itself to be extremely valuable. It enabled students of dressmaking to continue their studies there and those who were just learning, to develop their skills. It enabled the Senior Secondary school students resident at Fatuhada to continue their courses or learn new skills. Most importantly, it supplied local clinics and residents with COVID-19 protective masks – all made in a workroom which ATLAS funded in its initial stage.
Another project to be proud of.