Meet Jacinto Ximenes, a champion for women and girls with disabilities


Author: Sylvio Fonseca

Jacinto Ximenes stands next to the Spotlight Initiative banner
Jacinto Ximenes attending a workshop on strategies to prevent gender-based violence and on the elimination of all violence against women, in Dili under the Spotlight Initiative. Photo: UN Women/Sylvio da Fonseca

English | Tetun

In Timor-Leste, there is a perception that only the government is responsible for the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disability (PwD) in society, when in fact, society as a whole has an vital role to play for empowering and supporting PwD. When Jacinto Ximenes was elected as the village chief, he acknowledged how critical his role is for the elimination of violence against women and girls (VAWG) with disabilities, as a leader and member of society.

“I started to see the rise in violence and the lack of opportunities for women and girls with disabilities in my community,” said Ximenes, who was elected as chief of Dilor, in the municipality of Viqueque, around 100 kilometres south-east of Dili. “As I strongly believe that people should not be mistreated because of their physical or mental condition, I was motivated to declare my candidacy for village chief.”

Eager to bring change to his community, Ximenes passionately stated, “equal opportunity and contribution of all will accelerate the development of our community.”

Ximenes benefited from the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in collaboration with Community Based Rehabilitation Network Timor-Leste (CBRN-TL), with their sub-partner Naroman ba Futuru (meaning “Light for the future”) based in Viqueque through the provision of capacity-building for gender equality and curbing gender-based violence (GBV), specifically on reporting and referring cases of GBV.

This initiative is targeted at members of the community and local authorities in the three municipalities of Bobonaro, Viqueque and Ermera, with the objective of supporting vulnerable groups, including women and girls with disabilities. Spotlight focusses on ensuring access to quality essential services in the context of GBV by: utilizing knowledge resources such as a toolkit on GBV prevention for women with disabilities; raising awareness on GBV and EVAWG; and creating access to services to resolve them.

The trainings focused on disseminating information about the rights of PwDs, with an emphasis on including and supporting their active participation in society.   The objective is to show the community how it can unite, identify risks, and prevent violence against women and girls with disabilities.

The forms of violence experienced by women and girls with disabilities are similar to those experienced by other women and girls (e.g., psychological, physical, sexual and economic abuse). But with their distinct life experiences, the risk of such violence is higher for women and girls with disabilities compared with women and girls without disabilities.

“It is visible to me how pressing the issue of violence against women and girls with disabilities is,” Ximenes said.

“I see a lot of them get physically abused, get abandoned by their partners when pregnant, in the end many choose to cut short their lives. The norm is that men should be considered as better or above women. This encourages men to discriminate against and violate women and girls, and it is even worse for women and girls with disabilities.”

Prior to participating in the Spotlight Initiative, Ximenes was already involved in other initiatives focused on reducing violence against women and girls with disabilities. He was active in helping women and girls with disabilities to address problems they face in the community, for instance, contacting relevant NGOs who could provide equipment (wheelchairs, white canes and prosthetic legs) to PwDs and refer them to safe shelters. He even shared that in one of the shelters, they helped three PwDs to access higher education, who are currently studying at the National University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL).

For Ximenes, participating in the Spotlight Initiative was a life-changing experience. The initiative particularly supported his vision of becoming a village chief, providing opportunities to PwDs, and reinforcing prevention efforts.

“Although I was already active in supporting women and girls with disabilities, the capacity-building sessions provided by the Spotlight Initiative increased my knowledge on this issue. It gave me new insights on how to approach and sensitize the community to PwD, particularly women and girls with disabilities who face a higher risk of violence. This experience is a steppingstone on a journey that I have embarked on.”

As a village chief, Ximenes knows he is closer to the community and big impacts can happen there. “Now I can say that, with the way I approach my community, people are more aware of how they should interact with PwDs and are slowly becoming aware and sensitive to equal opportunities for PwDs."


Mai Koñese Jacinto Ximenes - Kampiaun Hapara Violénsia Kontra Feto no Labarik-feto ho Defisiénsia

Date: Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Author: Sylvio Fonseca

Jacinto Ximenes stands next to the Spotlight Initiative banner
Jacinto Ximenes diskute hela inkluzividade ba ema hotu iha formasaun Violénsia Bazeia ba Jéneru (VBJ) ne’ebé hala’o husi UN Women nia programa Inisiativa Spotlight iha Dili. Foto: UN Women/Sylvio da Fonseca

English | Tetun

Iha Timor-Leste, ema barak hanoin katak Governu de’it mak responsavel ba inkluzaun no empoderamentu ba ema ho defisiénsia (EhD) iha sosiedade. Maibe sosiedade tomak iha knaar importante atu halo hodi hakbiit no apoia EhD sira. Hafoin Jacinto Ximenes eleitu nu’udar Xefe Suku iha Dilor, munisípiu Viqueque, nia fó rekoñesementu kona-ba importánsia husi nia knaar nu’udar líder no membru sosiedade atu servisu ba hapara violénsia kontra feto no labarik feto (HVKFL).

“Ha’u foin haree violénsia aumenta no falta oportunidade ba feto no labarik-feto sira ho defisiénsia iha ha’u-nia komunidade. Ha’u fiar tebes katak labele iha ema ida atu hetan tratamentu ladi’ak tanba deit sira-nia kondisaun fíziku ou mentál. Kondisaun sira ne’e fo motivasaun ba hau atu kandidata-an ba pozisaun Xefe Suku. Oportunidade no kontribuisaun hanesan ba ema hotu-hotu, sei halais dezenvolvimentu iha ita-nia komunidade tanba relasaun entre abilidade diferente no koñesimentu buat ida forte tebes,” hateten Jacinto ho fuan bot. Husik hela nia servisu nu’udar funsionáriu públiku, Jacinto hakarak tebes atu lori mudansa ba iha nia komunidade.

Jacinto benefísiu husi Inisiativa Spotlight UE-ONU nian liuhusi kolaborasaun ho Rede Rehabilitasaun Baze iha Komunidade Timor-Leste (Community Based Rehabilitation Network Timor-Leste/CBRN-TL), ho sira-nia sub-parseiru Naroman ba Futuru iha Viqueque, liuhusi kapasitasaun ba Igualdade Jéneru no prevensaun Violénsia Bazeia-ba-Jéneru (VBJ), espesifikamente kona-ba hato’o keisa no refere kazu VBJ.

Inisiativa ida-ne’e nia tarjétu mak komunidade no autoridade lokál sira iha munisípiu tolu (Bobonaro, Viqueque no Ermera) ho objetivu atu apoia grupu vulnerável, inklui feto no labarik-feto sira ho defisiénsia. Spotlight foku ba asegura asesu ba servisu esensiál sira iha kontestu VBJ liuhusi utiliza rekursu koñesimentu sira hanesan materia (toolkit) ba Prevensaun VBJ ba feto sira ho defisiénsia, liuhusi hasa’e konxiénsia kona-ba VBJ no HVKFL no kria asesu ba servisu sira atu rezolve problema siraki ne’e.</p> <p>Formasaun sira ne’e foku atu fahe informasaun kona-ba direitu EhD nian – no hare liu ba inklui no apoia sira-nia partisipasaun ativu iha sosiedade. Nia objetivu mak atu hatudu ba komunidade oinsá sosiedade bele hamutuk, identifika risku no prevene violénsia hasoru feto no labarik-feto sira ho defisiénsia.

Feto no labarik-feto ho defisiénsia esperiénsia forma violénsia hanesan ho violénsia ne’ebé feto no labarik-feto hotu-hotu hasoru (abuzu psikolójiku, fíziku, seksuál no ekonómiku). Ho sira-nia esperiénsia moris lahanesan, feto no labarik-feto sira ho defisiénsia hasoru risku aas liu ba violénsia kompara ho feto no labarik-feto sira la hó defisiénsia.

“Ha’u rasik haree oinsa urjénsia ba asuntu violénsia kontra feto no labarik-feto ho defisiénsia. Ha’u haree sira barak hetan abuzu fíziku, abandona husi sira-nia parseiru bainhira isin-rua hela no ikus liu deside atu habadak sira-nia moris.” Hatutan Jacinto, “Norma ne’ebé sosiedade hatúr katak mane tenke di’ak liu ou hetan fatin aas liu feto, ida-ne’e enkoraja mane sira atu diskrimina no viola feto no labarik-feto sira no aat liu tan ba feto no labarik-feto sira ho defisiénsia.”

Antes partisipa iha Inisiativa Spotlight nia programa, Jacinto hola parte ona iha inisiativa sira-seluk ne’ebé foku ba hamenus violénsia kontra feto no labarik-feto sira ho defisiénsia. Nia sempre ativu hodi ajuda feto no labarik-feto sira ho defisiénsia atu hatán ba problema ne’ebé sira hasoru iha komunidade. Porezemplu, kontaktu ONG relevante ne’ebé bele fó ekipamentu EhD nian (kadeira-roda, ai-tonka mutin, no ain-prostétiku) no refere sira ba uma-mahon seguru atu ajuda movimentu EhD sira-nian. Nia mós hato’o katak iha uma-mahon ida, sira fó ajuda ba EhD na’in 3 hodi hetan asesu ba edukasaun superiór no agora sira estuda hela iha Universidade Nasionál Timor-Leste (UNTL).

Tuir Jacinto, partisipasaun iha Inisiativa Spotlight hanesan esperiénsia ne’ebé muda nia moris, inisiativa ne’e fó apoiu espesífiku ba nia vizaun atu sai Xefe Suku, atu fó biban ba EhD sira no reforsa esforsu sira ba prevensaun. “Maske hau ativu ona hodi apoia feto no labarik-feto sira ho defisiénsia, sesaun kapasitasaun fornese liuhusi Inisiativa Spotlight hasa’e tebes ha’u-nia koñesementu kona-ba asuntu ne’e, liuliu fó perspektiva foun atu hakbesik ba no sensibiliza komunidade ba EhD sira, liuliu feto no labarik-feto sira-ne’ebé hasoru risku aas liu husi violénsia. Esperiénsia ne’e nu’udar pasu ida iha dalan ne’ebé ha’u foin hahú.”

Nu’udar Xefe Suku, Jacinto hatene katak nia mak besik liu ona komunidade sira no nia haree katak impaktu boot sira bele mosu iha-ne’ebá. “Agora ha’u foin bele dehan katak dalan ne’ebé ha’u hakbesik ba ha’u-nia komunidade, ema hatene tan ona oinsá sira tenke halo interasaun ho EhD sira no neineik-neineik sira sei hatene no sai sensivel liu ba kria oportunidade hanesan ba EhD sira."