You know that Jim and I spent two years in Africa with the Peace Corps and now we’re living in Southeast Asia’s Timor-Leste where Jim works for USAID. I am volunteering with Casa Vida, an NGO here that helps meet the needs of child victims of violence and sexual abuse and their families.
Casa Vida was started in 2008. Visit CV's Facebook page: Casa Vida Facebook Page Here is its official mission statement and a list of the programs it runs:
To promote the right to life, protection and citizenship guaranteed by the RDTL Constitution and Convention of the Children in Timor-Leste and internationally.
To provide child victims of violence and abuse a place of security where they can receive care for their physical, mental, social and spiritual needs; facilitating their return to complete health/wellness, to families and communities with a restored self-confidence and self-esteem.
Residential care - Emergency shelters, with a Day Care for children aged 6 months to 4 y.o. and a Pre School for children aged 4 to 6 y.o., access to formal schools, health and mental health institutions.
Advocacy and Judicial (legal) support and representation
Reintegration - Facilitate and monitor the reintegration of a child victim of sexual abuse within their family and community
Life skills trainings - Computer, languages, sewing, handicrafts, music
Vocational trainings and Social Enterprise - Kafe Aroma (Restaurant), Doce Vida (Bakery), Arte Vida. Casa Vida has also provided Hospitality training and practical on the job training for a number of external Organisations (including SEFOP and the School of Hospitality, and the Becora School of Hospitality)
Community education -Awareness and Prevention against Women and Children Violence
Today Casa Vida employs 45 staff plus volunteers and has supported more than 250 children victims of violence and abuse since it was established 9 years ago. Most of them have been reintegrated back to their families upon joint safety assessment with Ministry of Social Solidarity of Government of Timor-Leste. In November 2017, Casa Vida is supporting 59 clients in the Residential Shelter, where 10 of them are male, and 49 are female."
I am working with Kafe Aroma, using my years of restaurant and hospitality experience to help them reimagine the restaurant. The current inception is costing the charity more than it is bringing in so I have agreed to help redesign a smaller restaurant in a new location that will stay true to the mission of providing training for the women and men who seek help from Casa Vida and also will make enough money to return the profits to the larger charity so it can carry on with its work.
This is the holiday season and I know everyone is busy with family and friends, shopping and celebrations. And, I know you’re getting the usual seasonal blizzard of what Jim’s Dad used call “gimme letters,” although I guess they’re “gimme emails” these days.
Still, I hope that you will consider making even a small donation to this cause. I have pledged to raise $5000 (US) by January 1, 2018, for the design and reconstruction of a small space already owned by Casa Vida. Your donation will fund the materials to refinish the dining area and to build a new kitchen and restrooms. We hope to attract volunteer labor for the cause.
It’s a lot to ask that you take this on faith but I promise this will make a difference in the lives of the men, women and children who attend Casa Vida’s school or take shelter in their dormitory to escape the violence of an abusive home. Unfortunately, Timor-Leste has a very high rate of Gender Based Violence. Casa Vida and its attending partner programs is one way the community is fighting back. I hope you’ll join me.
I wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons and celebrations and health, happiness and prosperity for the New Year!
Thank you. Graca
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