Sara’s survival story

Posted on August 7, 2017

Close-up on holding hands

Sara, 42, is a mother of eight from Dili in Timor Leste, where she runs three small businesses. Sara not only has her own fruit stall at the Taibezi Market, which provides the bulk of her income, she also operates a nearby billiard table and bathroom, which she built with her own money.

But Sara had to work hard for her success, overcoming domestic violence at the hands of her husband. Unfortunately, Sara’s experience is common in Timor Leste, with 38% of women reporting physical or sexual abuse.

Sara was forced to flee her husband and found refuge at a women’s shelter run by our local partner PRADET. This safe house protects vulnerable, abused and trafficked women and children, and offers medical and forensic services if they want to press charges.

The centre also focuses on rehabilitating victims and teaching them new skills to lead independent lives. By finding work and starting their own businesses, women are empowered to regain control over their relationships or leave abusive partners.

After participating in the ‘Safe Room’ training program run by PRADET, Sara now sells fresh fruit such as bananas, avocados and mangoes at the Taibezi Market. Many of her friends from the centre have also started their own businesses, from selling clothes to raising livestock.

“I now rely on myself to make money and support my family,” Sara said. “I have the financial freedom to take charge of my family’s future.”

Want to help more women like Sara? Donate now to support our life-changing programs.