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‘We are women and we can’

Aprilia, a graduate of Loyola College in Timor-Leste, feels empowered to one day represent her country as a female diplomat and leader.     

At 19 years old Aprilia’s drive is inspiring, believing that females need to support one another, to challenge gender bias together and pave their own way to reach their dreams.

“I think that being a female leader is often underestimated by society. My experience in Loyola really shaped me to think that, though you are a woman you have the power to make change."


Last month on International Women's Day, Aprilia shared the importance of celebrating the achievements of all women during the pandemic. 

“2020 was not an easy year. I have seen the amazing effort of women who have had to balance between working, cooking and doing house chores, accompanying their kids, studying and finding time for themselves.”

For Aprilia, 2020 was devastating after it was confirmed that her opportunity to study abroad in Germany was revoked due to COVID-19.

However, this road bump did not deter Aprilia from chasing her dream and instead led her to take up an incredible internship opportunity with the Asia Foundation in Timor-Leste. 

Here she is gaining valuable insight from participating in programs that are helping her community.

“From February to August last year, I translated children’s books from English to Tetum. Now we are cooperating with the Minister of Education and the books will go to children in rural areas.”

From September to present, Aprilia has gained additional experience as a program assistant with the same organisation, collating data through surveys on the experience of her community during COVID-19.

“I even met the Secretary of State. We want to publish the surveys all over Timor in order to make more effective policy that manages the needs of rural communities during the pandemic.”

Whilst continuing with her internship, Aprilia is applying for more scholarships to study abroad, seeing education as the greatest opportunity for her to achieve her dream of being a diplomat.

Aprilia’s pursuit for education as well as her desire to help others, demonstrates the tremendous efforts by women around the world who are influencing a new era of equal opportunity.

“We are women and we can.”


First Spiritual Exercises - Improving Freedom

Let us join together in the Prayer of Improving Freedom, written by Fr Michael Hansen SJ, National Director of the First Spiritual Exercises Program.

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