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Thank you to everyone who has donated to our end-of-financial year appeal. We’ve raised $64,000 so far and we’re aiming to reach our goal of $70,000 by June 30.

This money will go directly to creating strong and sustainable unions for farmers in Timor Leste. These unions are lifting wages and providing a stable source of food for thousands of men, women and children across the country.

Elisabeth Lino de Araujo, APHEDA Country Manager in Timor Leste spoke about why the project to build a farmer’s union in Timor Leste is so important.

She said: “The job opportunities in Timor Leste are very limited. Most of the Timorese population are farmers.

“In Ermera district, farmers rely on coffee plantations. For three months of the year, they have money. But after finishing the coffee harvest, for the rest of the year they have no money. That’s why APHEDA is working with Ermera Agricultural Union to help farmers plan crop rotation. Farmers are now planting banana, jackfruit, rambutans, oranges, mandarins, vegetables and trees that protect the soil. This means they can have income every month.

“One farmer by themselves is not strong, but together in a union, they can change things. Ermera Agricultural Union is now teaming up with the Institute of Popular Education and Kdadalak Sulimutuk Institute to build unions that can represent farmers from all over Timor Leste.

“Through this project, farmers are learning about sustainable agricultural practices, how to adapt to a changing climate, and how to advocate for themselves.

“It is already making a big difference in people’s lives. For example, in Loes men and women can now earn $500 a week. This is a huge income for farmers. The grassroots campaign has made farmers aware they need to work together to utilise their land better.

Please donate to this project. You understand the impact unions can have on the livelihood of farmers. Over the last 20 years, the Australian union movement has really supported the people of Timor-Leste and that solidarity continues today.”

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