I run a non-profit organization in Timor-Leste (East Timor) called Ba Futuru, meaning “for the future”. I moved to Timor-Leste in 2004 to undertake field work for my Master’s Degree through the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Passionate about conflict prevention and confronted by children experiencing violence, I worked with colleagues to co-found Ba Futuru within a few months after my arrival. Over the past 10 years I’ve been working to develop and implement educational, child protection and conflict transformation programs working to combat the use of violence in homes, school and communities. We now have more than 60 staff and volunteers, and around a million dollars a year in project funding.
We have worked to help transform the lives of more than 25,000 individuals through dynamic training programs. I have developed and overseen several ground-breaking projects in the areas of civic education, promotion of democratic principles, women’s empowerment, protection, conflict resolution, and education. The success of my work with Ba Futuru is evidenced by the fact that Ba Futuru has received two awards in 2011 and 2013 for its protection work from the STARs Foundation (UK), and one award for Outstanding Leadership in Conflict Resolution from the Association for Conflict Resolution.