|In August 2001, the East Timorese Popular Educators' held a press conference in front of La'o Hamutuk's office in Dili. The Network was founded by nine organizations which participated in a month-long visit to Brazil organized by La'o Hamutuk.|
Rede dos Educadores Populares Timor Lorosae
La o Hamutuk, Farol Dili
Contact: Nuno Rodrigues
Telephone: 0407-609-488 or 0408-811-373
9 August 2001
Nine East Timorese organizations have formed the East Timorese Network of Popular Educators (Rede dos Educadores Populares Timor Lorosa'e). The formation of this network grows from the recognition of the critical role of education in the process of East Timorese democratization.
Why popular education ? Popular education as practice is not new to East Timor. In fact, the 1975 generation was inspired by the methods of Paolo Freire and popular education was carried out in the form of literacy classes, cooperatives, crèches (day schools), development of traditional remedies and other social activities which the Indonesian invasion stopped and destroyed.
Political independence has been achieved, but has not yet guaranteed the same learning opportunities to all people. The majority of the population was marginalized during Indonesia s occupation and during this transitional period, there has not yet been significant change. The formal education that now exists is a legacy of the Portuguese and Indonesian systems and does not include liberating principles. The goal of popular education is to empower all people to be able to participate in decision making processes. Popular education is a collective act, not an individual one.
The formation of the Popular Educators Network has been sparked by an exchange between Brazil and East Timor. From 17 June to 17 July, eleven East Timorese traveled to Brazil to participate in an exchange which focused on popular education. The Brazil-East Timor Popular Education Exchange was started a year ago when two popular educators from Brazil visited East Timor.
Brazil is renown for its history of effective models of popular education and community organizing. For many years, popular education has been used in Brazil as an important tool for social transformation. The following are some of the valuable lessons learned by the group in Brazil which relate to popular education work:
From the experiences with popular education techniques that we gathered in Brazil, we form the Rede dos Educadores Populares. This network represents a commitment to a collective process to strengthen popular education methods as a tool for social transformation in East Timor.
We thank our friends in Brazil from so many different organizations for their assistance in making this exchange so valuable and productive. We also thank OxFam Australia, UNDP and Grassroots International for their financial support of the Brazil - East Timor Exchange on Popular Education.
Grupo Alfabetização Naroman
Grupo Nove Nove Fokupers
Institutu Sekular Maun Alin iha Kristu ISMAIK
La o Hamutuk
Prontu Atu Servi
Organização Popular da Mulher Timorense - OPMT
Sa he Institute for Liberation
The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis
1a Rua Mozambique, Farol, Dili, Timor Lorosa’e
P.O. Box 340, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin, Australia)
Tel: +670(390)325013 or +61(408)811373