Alola Australia



Empowering women, Investing in communities.

A letter from Kirsty about how you can support gender equality in Timor-Leste by donating today. YOUR gift will be directed to Alola’s Economic Empowerment Program, and will enable many more vulnerable women to exercise their economic power.

Read the full text here:  A letter from Kirsty

Maria’s Story

Maria Tapu lives in a rural Bobometo village in Oecusse municipality with her husband and four children. Maria’s husband worked as a primary teacher on a low salary and the family was struggling to make ends meet. With little formal education, but desperate to improve the family situation, Maria learned to weave tais which she would sell for a pittance at an outlet in Dili.


In 2015, Maria became one of 28 women who participated in a Micro Lending Scheme delivered as part of Alola’s Economic Empowerment Program. Maria received training on business skills and financial management; she was also linked to market opportunities to sell her tais.

In addition, the women’s group, with Maria as Coordinator, received a small grant of US$1,500 to start micro loans in the village. Maria and her group members have managed these funds so effectively, that by 2018 they had quadrupled their revenue to US$6,100, with some remaining proceeds able to be shared with group members each year.

Today, Maria runs her own separate business. She still weaves tais, but she also sells and rents computers to students in her village. Her family is involved in the business, including her eldest son who manages the computer rentals.

Maria is proud that she can now help to buy food, send her children to school and purchase school uniforms. The future looks bright for her family.

Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the UN Sustainability Development Summit. Stories such as Maria’s above are proof that supporting women to increase financial capability can have lasting effects, not just for the individual – but for the family and wider community.

PS  – All Donations above $2 are tax deductible