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Mana Judit's Story

Being Bold for Change in Timor

By Elsie Bath
Communications Officer
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Mana Judit Maria de Sousa lives and works in Timor-Leste, a place where traditional gender roles prevail. Despite this, she is the lead Project Manager of the Inspiring Young Learners through Quality Education (QE) project, run by Ba Futuru.  

Ba Futuru is a leading not-for-profit organisation in Timor-Leste, and partner with Oaktree to change the landscape of education across the country. QE aims to improve the teaching quality and learning environment for secondary school students in Timor-Leste, something that Mana Judit is deeply passionate about. As a mother of 2 young girls, Mana Judit understands not only the importance of education overall, but its capacity to expand opportunities available for women, and their ability to make their own change.

Mana Judit herself is no stranger to hard work; she is often one of the first to arrive and last to leave the Ba Futuru office. Her dedication shows in her journey to where she is today; starting as a teacher at Nicolau Lobato School, before becoming involved with Ba Futuru, and continuing to excel from there.

Mana Judit has big plans for her future and the future of education in her country; ‘Timor-Leste still needs to develop more in the education area’, she says, ‘I would like to be a mentor program manager, I don’t want to teach, but I will teach the teachers and make sure they are using the participatory teaching methods.’ Mana’s aspiration with Ba Futuru is to open their own school - a goal that’s not too far out of reach.

Although increasingly women like Mana Judit are working in full time employment, women are still the primary caregivers and undertake the majority of domestic roles in society. Women like Mana Judit will continue to change the face of the average woman in Timor-Leste and throughout the world, and Oaktree will continue to support projects that work to realise the full potential of women in society today.

Want to keep reading? Check out Being a Woman in PNG