The year that was…

In the final edition for 2015, Cooking Circles has a lot to celebrate.

From fundraising for Alola to holding joint Cooking Circles with Canberra-based campaign This Is Not A Wife Beater, talking about the work of the Dili community medical centre and the Bairo Pite Clinic… I’m sending out a big thank you to all those who mean so much to me. There’s also a list of the volunteer positions we will be looking to fill in the new year too…

Happy reading & listening! I look forward to creating a new year of Cooking Circles with you all…

~ Heidi x

The Alola Foundation

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Find out more about Alola Foundation, their work and how you can join the fundraising campaign.

On Saturday 19 September, local not-for-profit program Cooking Circles will be hosting a fundraiser for a women’s NGO in Timor Leste, the Alola Foundation. The aim of the night is to raise funds and awareness of the amazing work of the Alola Foundation who have been working with women and families in Timor Leste since 2001. 

Fundraise for the Alola Foundation with Kirsty Sword Gusmao

Alola was established by Australian born Kirsty Sword Gusmao. Kirsty has been an active supported of the country’s independence and has since lived in the country. She now lives in Dili, Timor Leste, with her three sons and is married to the current Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao. Kirsty will be our very special guest at the fundraiser, and if you have not heard her speak before, this is a great opportunity to meet and be inspired by Kirsty.
When: Saturday 19 September, 5pm-8pm
Where: Currie Crescent Community Centre at The Canberra Baptist Church, 11 Currie Crescent Kingston
Cost: Adults $25 and kids $15.
A light supper will be served and there will be speeches and a slideshow throughout the night. All welcome – women, men, kids!
If you cannot attend but wish to donate, you can do so through Cooking Circles supported page.
Any questions can be directed to Heidi at heidizajac@gmail.com or 0413 404 511.
We hope to see you there!

Why Alola?

The Alola Foundation is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation that works for women’s rights in Timor Leste, and the tagline says it all: ‘Strong Women, Strong Nation’. The organisation was founded in 2001 by Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Australian born and fighting for the Timorese people since 1991. Each year, the Alola Foundation’s partner organisation, Alola Australia, organises a fundraising campaign, MILK, to acquire much needed funds to keep the Alola Foundation operating.

It was because of Kirsty that I was prompted to learn more about Timor Leste, after I read a little about her in Canberra’s Museum of Australian Democracy, housed in Old Parliament House, Canberra. I attended a MILK fundraiser breakfast in 2012 where Kirsty spoke about the strengths and struggles of Alola’s work to date. I met her for the first time at this event and was struck by Kirsty’s quiet yet charming, powerful, presence. When I travelled to Timor Leste two months later, I visited Alola and was fortunate to spend a little time with some of the staff and women through a childcare training program an Australian friend was running. I was moved by the determination of the women I met at Alola and have remained committed to helping in whatever small way I can both personally and as a community of supporters through Cooking Circles.

To support the work of the Alola Foundation, you can donate to the MILK campaign through the Cooking Circles page, join the Alola Fundraiser being held by Cooking Circles on Saturday 19th September, find out more about the amazing work of Alola, and hold your own morning tea event to raise funds for Alola. 

Disclaimer: Cooking Circles is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Alola Foundation and holds this fundraiser to support the work of the organisation only.

So it’s official!

Last week (Wednesday 15 April), Cooking Circles was celebrated and went public with a launch at local café, The Front Café and Gallery. The event was a chance for attendees to hear all about what Cooking Circles is, the story so far, and why it exists. More than 40 people crammed into the tiny café and snacked on a recipe inherited by the Timorese from the Portuguese, seafood rissoles, and shared platters of tropical fruits. Continue reading “So it’s official!”

Opinion piece: Food in contemporary Timor Leste

by Sonia Guterres

Food has been an essential part of our lives in Timor Leste and shapes our modern day gastronomy. Without nutritious food, we can’t grow to be healthy or even survive. The first time I worked with Mana Heidi was a unique experience, especially when talking about food and how much she loves the food in Timor. In the first few weeks of our conversation about food was fantastic and for Heidi, the food in Timor Leste is something special. Trying out the food in a restaurant in the corner of Dili provided us a delicious meal, and gives tourists like Mana Heidi the opportunity to taste local food.

Continue reading “Opinion piece: Food in contemporary Timor Leste”

Nerves

Staying calm. I’m anxious about the dSep 16 008ays ahead because I worry that they may simply not happen if things come up for the women…as they do for all of us at anytime, of course, quashing plans. But please, not today. Or tomorrow. I’m also feeling frustrated with myself because I should be able to see past this concern and focus on planning how I’ll video and cook, what ingredients I’ll need, which language to use and when, how to make women on film feel at ease, what to film and how much commentary to give, what I need stills of…

Continue reading “Nerves”