CASA VIDA TL opened in 2008 and has welcomed over 150 children who have suffered abuse or are at risk of abuse. This includes over 50 young pregnant girls. Some of these children have been able to return home to a safe environment. Others stay long-term for further support and training, or until relocation to an alternative safe place is possible as it remains too dangerous for them to return home.
Casa Vida provides specialised assistance for children between 0 and 18 years of age, who have experienced abuse or are at risk of neglect or abuse, and who have been referred by the Ministry of Social Solidarity or other similar government bodies. At Casa Vida the children find love and care, counselling and time for healing, medical attention, care during pregnancy and childbirth, support and training to care for their baby, and the opportunity to go to school or university, do vocational training and find employment..
The activities and training programs at Casa Vida include literacy and Portuguese classes, information technology training, guitar lessons, sewing, dressmaking, embroidery and other crafts. The babies, toddlers and preschoolers spend some of their time in Casa Vida’s childcare centre and the preschoolers attend the new kindergarten/pre-primary school that is also open to children of the neighbourhood.
Casa Vida runs two popular cafés called “Kafé Aroma” and “Doce Vida Café”, also the enterprises “Doce Vida” and “Arte Vida”. “Doce Vida” produces culinary art including cakes, biscuits and hors-d’oeuvres. “Arte Vida” creates unique jewellery that features the typical Timor woven cloth called “Tais” and other crafts. These are sold through outlets in Dili/Timor Leste, Bali/Indonesia and Sydney/Australia. “Kafé Aroma”, “Doce Vida Café” and “Doce Arte” were established to provide training and employment opportunities for the older children and to generate income to help finance Casa Vida’s many projects. The childcare centre and preschool provide opportunity for training as well.
“To promote the right to life, protection and citizenship
as guaranteed by the Constitution of Timor Leste
and the UN’s “Convention on the Rights of the Child”.