Timor-Leste Red Cross opens the doors of its new headquarters

Publié: 7 août 2014 8:15 CET

By Kate Smith, IFRC

Over the weekend, as the world was grappling with the humanitarian impacts of conflict and national disaster in Gaza, China and Nepal (among others), a small, but dynamic National Society in South East Asia was celebrating a bright spot in its own challenging history.

On Saturday August 2nd, in a ceremony in Dili, Timor-Leste Minister of Health (MS) Sergio Lobo, accompanied by Minister of Social and Solidarity (MSS) Isabel Guterres, officially opened the first, dedicated national headquarters of Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (the Red Cross of Timor-Leste) with help from IFRC Head of Regional Delegation, Anne Leclerc, ICRC Head of Mission, Drew Penland, and IFRC Head of Mission, Kathryn Clarkson. The inauguration of the new building followed a two-day General Assembly in which their Constitution was officially updated and a new Board and President were elected.

The opening marks a major milestone for the National Society, one of the world’s youngest, and reflects the progress Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (CVTL) has made since being welcomed into the Movement just under ten years ago.

It was in the year 2000, following the withdrawal of the Indonesian Red Cross along with Indonesian forces, that CVTL was born. During the years of Indonesian rule (1975-1999), many people came into contact with the ICRC in their capacity assisting displaced people, delivering medical supplies and visiting prison detainees. As a result, today, community recognition and trust of CVTL in providing humanitarian aid is very high.

Collaboration between CVTL and the government is strong and CVTL works as an auxiliary to the Government in the humanitarian field on a range of programmes including emergency response, water and sanitation, health, disaster preparedness and risk reduction, livelihoods, First Aid, HIV/Aids, dissemination of humanitarian values, tracing, and youth.

A large portion of the funding to build the new headquarters was contributed by the Government, reflecting and strengthening the auxiliary relationship.

Since beginning its work, equipped with only 50 staff and a makeshift office, CVTL has grown significantly in size, impact and reach. The National Society now has over 2,300 members, 2,800 volunteers, and 140 staff across all 13 districts across the country. The new headquarters provide a functional centre point from which CVTL can coordinate its national program of services to vulnerable communities, and to support emergency response across the country.

For more information:

Estanislau Guterres, CVTL Communication Coordinator,

Phone: +670 7723 1421 or Email: alau.guterres@yahoo.com