Local East Timorese women ready to Trek for their homeland

Domingas Alice Soares Gama and her sister Eva Soares Gama are young East Timorese women living in the Blue Mountains.

Domingas has just finished high school and is about to take on her HSC exams this month. In between studying and exams the girls, and their Australian mum, Wendy Chandler, will be walking for East Timor to raise money for women's development projects and educational support for young people in the mountainous Hatobuilico District.

"I have been involved twice before in the trek and what I like about trek is that it provides the perfect opportunity for you to meet people and establish friendships with those people," said Domingas.

"I also got to explore a place that I had never been before, basically it was the most fun and adventurous way to fundraise for my country."

In Hatobuilico, the Blue Mountains Friendship region in East Timor, Maria Fatima and Veronica de Silva Soares are young women who benefited from receiving scholarships to study at university through the fundraising of Trek for Timor. Both women have returned to their home region of Hatobuilico to put their skills to work for their local community. Veronica studied teaching and now shares her knowledge at the local school and Maria Fatima studied public administration and now works at the local district administration office while pursuing a Masters degree.

Eva Soares Gama said: "As a young woman from Timor-Leste, this is the first time I'm going to be participating in Trek for Timor, for me the trek is very important because it helps to raise money for my country, to help girls' education and health. Money from the trek also helped to build small organisations for women to be able to learn and share their skills with each other."

Blue Mountains Trek for Timor 2020 starts off around the world on Thursday, October 1. You can sign up any time in October to walk through the month and raise funds, or you could sponsor Eva, Domingas and Wendy, at www.trekfortimorbm.org.au.

"Your help will support and improve the lives of women and girls in Timor-Leste in the present but also contribute to the ongoing empowerment and the leadership of Timorese women into the future" said Domingas.

Blue Mountains Trek for Timor 2020 would like to thank ambassador Kirsty Sword Gusmao, local ambassador Aunty Carol Cooper and generous local sponsor, Hobbs Bathroom Company.