LO’UD women speak with one voice to end poverty in their communities! ETWA has supported these amazing women since 2007.LO’UD aims to lessen the burden of poverty for its members through local economic growth while also ensuring their work leaves a light footprint to protect the environment for future generations. They create an environment for local culture to thrive and survive for future generations.
LO’UD draws its 80 members members from three weaving collectives; one located in the flatlands of Lospalos and two in the highlands of Iliomar. They'll soon start a fourth collective in Iliomar! In these communities, 80% of women are illiterate and less than 3% of young women attend high school.
LO’UD’s Main activities are:
Weaving and marketing naturally dyed textiles
Formal and informal capacity building and training
Unique tourism services steeped in cultural practices
Partnership development and networking
LO’UD’s long-term vision is to seek a balance between dependence and independence and to protect, respect; preserve and cherish their culture and environment to create sustainable futures for their children. Their purpose is to work together through meaningful, creative work to sustain their lives, support their families and help other women and their nation.
> Women’s participation
> Cultural preservation
> Environmental protection
The main principles underpinning LO’UD are based on two cultural concepts:
(the inspiration for their name) is a call for action between communities.
A social concept which promotes cooperation, honesty, openness, mutuality and equality.
These inspiring principles are also processes in action and are critical to long-term stability for LO’UD. These concepts are unique to the Makalero language group of Iliomar and Makasae language group in the south east.
Building for a sustainable future
LO’UD Cooperative - have reached many major milestones over the past four years. But their most pressing need is a central office and workspace in Lospalso. Through the support of multiple organisations and the Timor-Leste Government, a central office in Lospalos is becoming a reality.
LO’UD has worked hard to overcome a multitude of barriers and challenges of conducting business in post-independence Timor-Leste. The unity, commitment and resilience shown by Cooperative members since 2007, and their capacity for continuous improvement have seen LO’UD mature into the capable, strong and stable organisation it now is. In particular, professional growth over the last three years, places LO’UD in a sound position to sustain its operations independently of external assistance in the foreseeable future.
Meet the LO'UD Team
Ilda Da Cruz
Ilda is smart, strong, determined; out-spoken and a lot of fun! Her husband teaches history at the local high school and they have six children. Ilda works incredibly hard. She is part of a Cooperative garden, sews in her spare time and also volunteers with LO’UD in a range of roles. She is fearless and energetic by nature and often travels to Dili alone to undertake both LO’UD and family duties. She lives with her family in Lospalos.
LO’UD Administration Team
Amelia Fernandes was born in Iliomar in 1986. She is married but has no children (yet!). Amelia volunteers with LO’UD and previously with CTKDS undertaking a range of administration and finance tasks. She is a steadfast and reliable worker and her shy and timid temperament conceals a fierce commitment to accountability and transparency. Amelia can weave, but prefers to contribute to LO’UD by learning and implementing new skills to support LO’UD’s business development and viability. She lives with her husband and extended in Lospalos town.
Xefe (Chief) Grupu LospalosFeto Kiak Weaving Collective
A strong and sharp-minded woman, Marcelina’s leadership skills were honed in the jungle, where she helped Guerilla fighters stay alive during the twenty-four year war for Independence. Her husband was personal security guard to the resistance hero and Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao. Marcelina’s their first child was born in the jungle. They have five surviving Children. Marcelina is a consistent leader who makes sensible and sound decisions quickly. Under her guidance, her 27 member collective is, unified, active and flourishing.
Have you been inspired to get in contact with the LO’UD Cooperative?
Their staff speak Tetum, Indonesian and some Portuguese, if you are happy to communicate in either of these languages please send us a message and we will connect you with LO’UD. If English is your preferred language, we’re happy to assist, so get in touch.
- Celestina Hornay
- Julia da Costa
- Olimpia da Cruz
- Augustina dos Santos
- Terezina Amaral
- Otilia da Conceicao
- Maria da Costa
- Jacinta da Costa
- Rosalina Pinto
- Tia Regina
Celestina is 36 years old and has to be one of the hardest workers in the Feto Kiak (Poor Women) weaving group. She juggles numerous responsibilities and four small children (Mickey pictured above in the orange t-shirt). She is the Treasurer for the weaving collective, works a small farm and often weaves all night while also managing to teach the art of weaving to her eldest daughter Noi and help Noi do her homework! Celestia is wonderful company, helping to keep the atmosphere light with her easy going nature and constant teasing. Her nick-name is wali-pasak, meaning cheeky in the local language of Makalero.
Julia da Costa
Is a Master Weaver, holding a magnitude of knowledge about the traditions and culture of tais weaving from the Iliomar region of Timor-Leste. An inherently creative woman, Julia teaches weaving traditions to younger women and supervises weaving and dyeing processes in her weaving group. Julia is unsure how old she is but her family thinks she is around 65 years old. A widow, Julia’s only son recently completed a BA and Julia travelled alone to Indonesia to attend his graduation. Julia is a respected elder in her community.
Olimpia da Cruz
Relatively new to the art of weaving and is an eager and diligent learner. Some techniques are markedly difficult and many weavers wait until they have mastered the simpler techniques before starting the next phase of their learning journey. Olimpia however likes to learn through trial and error and the advice of the older weavers in her collective. Although a little costly, she prefers to learn through her mistakes.
Augustina dos Santos
Born in August 1989 in the village of Fuat in Iliomar, the home of the resistance movement in the Iliomar region. She is the second youngest of fifteen children and her elderly parents live with their first-born son in Fuat. Augustina learned to weave from her mother Berta who continues to weave despite her failing vision. Augustina hides the difficulties of her life behind a gorgeous smile and elegant disposition. Her first child is in need of constant care having suffered from severe malnutrition. She lives with her husband’s family over the mountain in Luro with their second child.
Sixty-three years young, Terezina Amaral loves to weave and also loves to dance. Her big family are the perfect match for her big energy and larger than life personality. Terezina says that playing with her grandchildren and dancing with her children keeps her young. But there’s no playing when it comes time to weave tais. Like most women her age, Terezina can’t read and write but has an extremely important role as the teacher of sacred custom within her family.
Otilia da Conceicao
Diligent and strong, Otilia da Conceicao is one of the most accomplished young weavers in the Feto Kiak weaving group. At only 29 years old, Otilia favors the more complex techniques such as floating weft, known as ‘mel’-meli’ in Otilia’s mother tongue, and ’Pele’, a time consuming warp wrapping technique most women take years to master, is a favorite of Otilia’s. However it’s a wonder she manages to weave at all as she has four children under the age of five.
Maria da Costa
Is 45 years old and has eight children. She speaks of her last child (pictured with Maria) as being a miracle baby as Maria thought her child-bearing days were over. Although she is a shy and reserved woman, like most of the women in the Feto Kiak collective, Maria’s finds the therapeutic qualities of weaving help her cope with her traumatic past. Maria is a hard worker. She has a large garden which is one hour one way by foot from her house. She tends this large garden by hand.
Jacinta da Costa
Married and has four children, she has a placid and gentle nature but a fiery passion for traditional tais weaving. Jacinta produces the most remarkable cloth and her weaving is consistently even and of the highest quality. She has an excellent sense of design and balance, which ensures her cloth is highly sought after for both cultural ceremonies and as collectors pieces. Despite her relative youth, Jacinta has a deep understanding of traditional dyeing and weaving techniques and applies this knowledge with expertise that equal the Master weavers of old.
An active member of the Feto Kiak weaving collective and a highly skilled weaver. She embodies the strength and resilience of Timorese women in her battles with constant health issues. Sadly Rosalina suffers from migraines but she never misses collective meetings or the days that the women come together to weave. Being part of the group helps her be strong and the income ensures she can afford to buy medicine when her migraines are unbearable.