Civil war, occupation, violent conflict – Timor-Leste’s road to independence was long and arduous. After decades of violence, Jacinta de Sousa Pereira would like to see people live together in peace in their fledgling democracy. In the television role of ‘Feto Fantastiku’, she shows viewers in Timor-Leste how they can resolve their disputes non-violently. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, GIZ is promoting peacebuilding measures in Timor-Leste where it has already trained around 800 people in mediation.
Timor-Leste is a very small country with wonderful green landscapes. It is rich in culture and has countless traditions and languages. Sadly it is repeatedly afflicted by violence. When an argument breaks out, people do not talk to each other, but instead immediately start hitting each other. Domestic violence is a daily occurrence in Timor-Leste too, and it is children who suffer the most.
A lot of people, especially in rural areas, are unable to read or write. That’s why we put on plays and work with film material. People love it – and they really get talking to each other when we screen a typical conflict situation and I appear as FETO FANTASTIKU and sort everything out. But it gets them thinking and they resolve next time not to react violently but to engage in a civilised conversation.
People increasingly recognise me in the street. Children shout out ‘FETO FANTASTIKU’ when they see me – either that or the catchphrase from our broadcast: ‘Attack the problem, not the person!’ That’s really special. I notice that people not only recognise me, they also understand the message we are trying to get across.
I like to read, I go to the beach with my friends to escape from the tropical heat. But I like it best when I’m at home and the kids from the neighbourhood pop by. A lot of children in Timor-Leste are growing up in difficult conditions. They can rarely just be children. When they are with me they can recharge their batteries. That makes me really happy.
My trip to Singapore to the international conference PROJECT INSPIRE 2013 was a luxury. Singapore is completely different to Dili. I was amazed at the enormous size of the buildings and the smart shops. But the real luxury was the recognition we got for our work from the conference participants. I was really proud. I knew we were on the right path.