Mission Statement: Ba Futuru's mission is to contribute to peace-building and sustainable human development by facilitating the psychosocial recovery of conflict-affected, vulnerable and at-risk children and youth, and by developing the knowledge, skills and values of community leaders, young people and their carers in the areas of human rights, children’s rights, child protection and non-violent conflict transformation.
Ba Futuru is a non-profit development organization established in Timor-Leste in 2004.The vision of Ba Futuru is to transform mistrust and violence into peace and self-directed growth by supporting the people of Timor-Leste to engage in creating a positive future for themselves, their families and their communities.This vision is reflected in the name “Ba Futuru,” which in Tetun means “For the Future.” Ba Futuru’s activities are founded on the principles of mutual learning, capacity development, artistic self-expression and human rights based programming.
Ba Futuru is Timor-Leste’s preeminent local peace building organization. Ba Futuru staff are renowned for their quality training skills and have provided educational training programs with more than 15,000 children, youth, teachers and community leaders since 2004. Various international organizations, including CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, Concern Worldwide, Plan International and UNICEF regularly contract Ba Futuru to offer its training programs in locations across Timor-Leste.
Additionally, Ba Futuru has involved thousands of conflict-affected young people in activities to enhance their skills and process their experiences of conflict and has developed the Seroja Youth Center in a high conflict area in the Capital of Timor-Leste to engage some of the most at-risk children and youth. Ba Futuru also gives trainings on child protection, conflict analysis, conflict resolution, children's rights and positive (non-violent) discipline to teachers, parents and community leaders.
Since 2004 Ba Futuru has provided opportunities for more than 15,000 conflict-affected young people to develop their skills through artistic workshops on conflict resolution, human rights and civic education. Ba Futuru has also provided training in child protection, conflict resolution, children's rights and positive (non-violent) discipline to more than 1,000 parents, orphanage staff, teachers and community leaders in Timor-Leste.
Programs and Activities
Psychosocial Peace Building Support Project
In 2008 Ba Futuru expanded its “At-Risk Children’s Project” to become the “Psychosocial Peace Building Support Project,” broadening the focus of the project to include training and capacity development in peace building and child protection with community leaders, youth and adults who care for children.The term “psychosocial” connotes the dynamic and symbiotic relationship between the psychological and social factors contributing to a child’s wellbeing. A more explicit emphasis on this relationship in Ba Futuru’s programming has been integral to the project’s success.
Ba Futuru’s Transformative Arts and Human Rights Education (TAHRE) Program was developed in 2004 in order to strengthen the capacity of Timorese to create and sustain peace in Timor-Leste.The TAHRE curriculum teaches participants about their own rights and the rights of others, and how to reduce violence in their everyday lives.Additionally, it develops in those entrusted to care for children the skills necessary for effective child protection.
The TAHRE Program curriculum promotes conflict resolution and coping skills through the use of psychosocial activities involving art, music, and games.Interactive role-playing and trust-building exercises serve to equip participants in IDP camps, orphanages, childcare centers, schools, high-conflict zones and poverty-stricken rural areas with the skills needed to create a more positive and peaceful life. Trainings using the Ba Futuru-produced Positive Discipline Manual, which supplements the TAHRE Guide, provide participants with specific information about the importance of non-violent discipline and respect for children’s rights.
The Seroja Youth Center was established in Rai Kotu, Comoro, as a positive, self-esteem-enhancing and educational environment in which individual independence and collective interdependence can be learned. The Center has been developed through a process of ongoing consultation with the RDTL Government, and has been endorsed by President and Nobel Laureate, Jose Ramos-Horta.Working closely with local and national leadership, including youth leaders, has enabled Ba Futuru to develop local ownership while supporting traditional power structures and community cohesiveness.
Hundreds of children and youth attend Seroja Center regularly, where Ba Futuru runs courses on various topics including: English, sports, drama, photography, music, art, self-defense for women, basic health and hygiene, traditional and modern dance and yoga.Ba Futuru also runs courses on child protection, human rights, positive discipline, civic education, conflict resolution and peace building through the TAHRE and Positive Discipline curriculums. The majority of courses run for three months after which certificates are provided and a new round of courses begins.
The most exciting outcome of the ongoing activities at the Seroja Center is the positive engagement of children and youth within surrounding communities and the subsequent reduction of violence.Children and youth living in the vicinity now have a safe environment within which they can participate in activities and classes that enhance their daily lives.Moreover, many of the youth who come from communities across Dili to participate in classes at the Seroja Center have found employment due to their study of English, simple seminars on CV creation and interviewing techniques and their development of positive attitudes from the TAHRE program.
Community Recovery Courses
Since July 2007 Ba Futuru has been working to develop a psychosocial recovery component of its ongoing TAHRE Program. The addition of this component will help to fill the void of service providers in the area of trauma and mental health. The long-term objective is to professionalize psychosocial counseling and trauma recovery services in Timor-Leste together with Southern Cross University (SCU) Australia, Pradet, Hope, UNICEF, and the RDTL Government. Together we hope to develop a thriving social services sector with trained competent therapists that can help Timor-Leste recover from its vast societal trauma.
Links to Additional Information
Project Leader Biographies
Ba Futuru's Context
Community Recovery Courses
Seroja Center Student Profiles
Ba Futuru's web site
The Guardian article about Ba Futuru's work with former gang members
Sierra James, Co-Founder and Program Manager
3511 Chuckanut Ave Bellingham, WA 98229 USA
Timor phone: +670-724-6022 or +670-332-2437
US phone: 1-360-671-8662