Timor Leste is a new country with a population of just over one million people. For the past three months I have worked as a Kopernik fellow in the small village of Biqueli on Ataúro Island. My efforts in Biqueli not only brightened my life, but also the lives of hundreds on the island through the Kopernik program "Bring clean, bright light to Ataúro."
The program distributed 200 d.light S250 solar lights to island inhabitants, in partnership with local NGO Move Forward. Not only did I have the opportunity to help distribute the solar lights, but I also conducted a rapid impact assessment of our efforts in order to get useful information about Kopernik's footprint in the community. The opportunity to travel around the island for three months allowed me to not only get to know the Ataúro people but also their needs. The data collected through my impact assessment will allow Kopernik to continue to understand and satisfy local demands (such as for lighting or water) and how Kopernik can make a real impact in their livelihoods.
A group of young fishermen fixing their nets in Pala, Biqueli
Besides distributing the solar lights within Biqueli’s community, Kopernik has been worked with Roman Luan’s NGO in Vila, which is another village in Ataúro. Last year they already worked together for the distribution of d.light, and now they started the distribution of Solvatten water filters.
Solvatten water filter in Vila
Being a Kopernik fellow gives you the opportunity to make a difference. The programs are orientated to fulfill the basic needs based upon local demand. Because of this, my experience has been both professionally and personally satisfying. I am very grateful for this opportunity. I am also grateful to have lived an amazing experience and to get to know new and surprising people that helped me during my work. Discovering such an amazing country as Timor Leste has widened my point of view about reality. Now I just want to keep on working--and now I think that anything is possible thanks to Kopernik supporters and donors.
So thank you again!
Farewell meeting in Biqueli with the village chief, the priest, and Move Forward staff and English students.