Bridging the divide

World News Anna Robertson1 November 2012 Earlier this year, the Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao, was being interviewed by Radio Timor Kmanek (RTK), the Timorese Catholic radio station…

World News

Anna Robertson
1 November 2012

Bridging the divide Archdiocese of WellingtonEarlier this year, the Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao, was being interviewed by Radio Timor Kmanek (RTK), the Timorese Catholic radio station supported by Caritas. Talking about his vision for Timor and the role RTK can play, Mr Gusmao said, ‘I want to encourage RTK as a Catholic radio to continue educating people through radio programmes. Your mission is educating people, promoting good values of life and to work for the common good of the state and all people.’

As he spoke the rain started coming through the roof. Wondering aloud if the building was going to come down on his head, he instantly promised a $100,000 donation to help repair and strengthen the premises in recognition of RTK’s service to civil society in Timor Leste.

When we arrived at RTK’s refurbished premises, the afternoon sun was shining on the bright blue walls and golden letters. The acting director Deacon Domingos Bian, who was to be ordained a priest the following week, welcomed us.

He leads a small team at RTK to deliver top quality and relevant radio programmes covering such topics as rural development, civic education, religious programmes and women’s rights.

The journalists work hard to connect remote and isolated rural areas with the capital Dili and central government. They continue the vision of RTK founder Fr Domingos Sequeira who died in July this year after a long illness.

Between women and the law
Angelina is the scriptwriter, presenter and head of the women’s programme ‘Bua Malus’. Hearing about increasing domestic violence, prompted her to focus the programme on sharing the law protecting women from violence in the home.

In 2010 Timor Leste passed a law outlawing domestic violence. Yet many Timorese women are not aware of the law or are uncertain of how it can protect them.

As the programme went to air, they started to receive phone calls from women wanting to know more.
Angelina decided to visit each caller. On every visit she answered the women’s questions and would tell them the local organisations available to provide practical help from legal advice and support to shelter and food.

The feedback from women about the programme has been overwhelmingly positive as they recognise the importance of promoting women’s rights and sharing the experiences of women living in both rural and urban areas.

Click here for another story about RTK, and here for a look at the work of Caritas in Timor Leste.

Image: Angelina presenting the women’s programme, ‘Bua Malus’. Photo: Anna Robertson/Caritas.