Tell us a little about yourself and how you get involved with indigo foundation
My name is Domingas Alice Soares Gama, I am 21 years old, from Timor-Leste and currently living in the Blue Mountains and studying a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Development Studies at Western Sydney University. I hear about Indigo foundation through Jude Finch and the Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters group. After speaking to her, I was very excited to read about indigo on the website and their collaboration with local community partners worldwide to empower women and girls, enhance education and health outcomes, and protect human rights. When I read about this, I was very excited to get involved because I believe that the areas need more attention and need people to work together to address these issues.
What most excites you about the work JDN are doing and what are you looking most forward to as part of indigo’s Timor partnership team?
I could not list everything that JDN are doing in Timor-Leste because there are so many but what I could say is, I was very fortunate to go to indigo’s recent team gathering and meet Mana Analia and Elga in Timor-Leste through zoom conference. One thing I took away from that meeting is how JDN members and activists have been working on strategies to prevent sexual harassment by advocating for their rights every day and confronting sexual harassment and sexual violence when it occurs. There has been a lot of work done by amazing young women and what I am most looking forward is to learn about these issues and see what I can contribute to both indigo and JDN. I am also most looking forward to strengthening the relationship between indigo and JDN. I believe that building trust is fundamental.
Your life and studies have exposed you to issues of inequality and social change in Australia and in Timor-Leste. What issues are most passionate about and what do you see as the role of young people leading change?
As young women from Timor-Leste and living abroad to study, I see that In Timor-Leste women and girls face difficult situations and circumstances. This is due to the country’s strong patriarchal culture and traditional customs which reinforce strict gender roles, deny women a say in decision making and render them more exposed to frightening rates of violence. For this to change for women and girls, the government has to step in and take actions and also support programs like JDN to address these issues.