Story & Photos by Lobitos de Jesus Alves
MAF is overcoming isolation for women and children who are affected by domestic violence by providing air transportation for emergency evacuation.
MAF’s team in Timor-Leste flew to the remote municipalities of Bobonaro and Baucau to meet up with PRADET’s regional coordinator and its partner organisations to discuss how MAF can help their work in domestic violence cases.
PRADET (Psychosocial Recovery and Development East Timor) is a national NGO that works to provide assistance to women and children who are affected by domestic violence.
Joana da Costa, the coordinator of PRADET in Baucau, explained the challenges in assisting domestic violence survivors in rural areas.
“Our work widely covers the eastern part of the country, including four municipalities: Baucau, Lautem, Vikeke and Manatuto, but transportation accessibility to transport those victims is still a big issue for us,” said Mrs da Costa.
“We hope that working with MAF can help us overcome our difficulty in helping those vulnerable people.”
In 2022, MAF officially signed a memorandum of understanding with PRADET to transport those survivors to get medical appointments in the national hospital in Dili, as well as to the district attorney for legal help. During 2023, MAF flew three survivors of domestic violence from Vikeke to receive medical care in the national hospital in Dili.
Ricardina Coe, a coordinator of PRADET in Maliana, explained the importance of collaboration with MAF.
“Sometimes, we received several cases from rural areas regarding domestic violence because some victims came with severe conditions and needed medical aid, but the challenge is that we don’t have convenient transportation to evacuate them in an emergency situation,” said Mrs Coe.
“We are very glad to collaborate with MAF in assisting the air service to transport those survivors who have suffered severe physical aggression and need to evacuate from the districts to the national hospital for emergency medical care.”
In Bobonaro municipality, the number of cases of domestic violence is increasing, and more than 100 cases were recorded in 2023. “In 2021, we registered 96 cases, and the number of the cases went up to 117 cases in 2022. But meanwhile, more than a hundred cases were recorded for this year,” Mrs Coe added.