News: Adeus Ahisaun

This is an excerpt from a longer piece by Lukas and Kristina. Tim and Corinne Lawther will build upon their work with Ahisaun as volunteers for the next year.

Lukas and Kristina with Ahisaun’s founder Fr Adriano Ola
Senor Mario and the staff have opened up new ways of communicating, supervising and encouraging the participation of members in the life of the organisation. One very important and beautiful development has been the start up of small member run groups who work together to run their own training / income generation activities – like computer training, shoe making, music recording, composting and kitchen gardening etc.

Tapping into the talents and capacities of the young people not only shows what people with a disability can do, it also increases each member’s sense of pride in community and personal contributions. This model is already starting to attract support from donors interested in supporting organisations with clear mechanisms to put ideas and dreams into practice. Combined with a clear sense of direction (expressed in the strategic plan) and a transparent financial accounting system that is now in place, there is certainly something to feel optimistic about when reflecting upon the future of Ahisaun.

We have also realised the important role donors play in the future of Ahisaun. For constructive relationships to take root it is essential that donors be open to understanding Ahisaun’s reality on the ground and dreams for the future, while at the same time requesting accountability, transparency and professionalism in its operation. One donor, in particular, positively and patiently encouraged the organisation in these areas with the wonderful outcome of a Strategic Plan.

Angelino in Ahisaun’s new garden
Of course many challenges remain and the future is always uncertain – perhaps nowhere is this more true than in East Timor – however, with Ahisaun’s network of friends and new Palms volunteers we feel encouraged when we think of the foundation’s future prospects. We pray that Ahisaun will continue to walk in hope, clarity and confidence to realize its future, not one that is wished upon it by others, but a future which it truly owns and longs for.

Special thanks to Maun Mario, Mana Ervina and their family, our colleagues – Angelino, Alexio, Samuel, Agus and our many dear friends at Ahisaun. To Christine, Roger, Brendan and all the staff and members of Palms, for all your constant support and encouragement we thank you. And to each one of you who wrote to us, sent care packages and prayed for us, we say thank you very much! Your generosity and love has accompanied us on this journey, has made our lives richer and has made a contribution to people’s lives here in East Timor.

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Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand. - Chinese proverb