(Tetum) Thousands of farming families have received gumboots to keep their feet safe and dry when working in the fields thanks to a donation of 15,000 pairs by the well-known boot company Hunter.
This brings the total boots donated to Seeds of Life to 18,000, since Hunter first gave 3,000 pairs in July 2012.
Quality footwear like these boots are a huge help for Timorese farming families, particularly during the rainy season when it’s harder for them to tend their fields.
“We can now work safely because these boots prevent us from stepping on sharp rocks and other objects”
This is also the time when they are most likely to suffer foot and leg injuries, and risk infection and disease.
“During the wet season when there is a lot of rain and our fields get muddy, it is hard for us farmers to do our work well,” says Felisberto de Araujo, chief of the Rai Hun community seed production group (CSPG) in Fatukeru suco, Ermera.
“As farmers we very much appreciate this support because these boots mean we can avoid cuts from thorns and sticks so we can work better,” he said.
Seeds of Life have already distributed over 10,500 pairs of the total 15,000:
- Over 9,500 pairs to farmers in over 1,000 community seeds production groups
- 500 pairs to local NGOs working with farming families such as RAEBIA, Fraterna, Prospek and Raumoco Watershed Management Council for distribution to their farmer groups
- 600 pairs to Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and SoL staff including extension.
The remaining 4,000-plus pairs will be distributed later this year to members of new CSPGs and other farming families across all the thirteen districts of Timor-Leste.
Farming families in Ermera that received the boots earlier this year were delighted with their new footwear.
“I’m happy to have these boots so we can wear them in the field and avoid getting muddy feet,” said Olga de Jesus, chief of the women’s group Sosoer Organiku in Ermera.
Roselia Fatima, a group member of Haburas in Ermera, said she can “now work safely because these boots prevent us from stepping on sharp rocks and other objects”.
Hunter delivered the boots to Seeds of Life in two shipments – 8,400 pairs in December 2013 followed by another 6,500 pairs in May 2014.
The first donation of 3,000 pairs by in July 2012 were given to farmer groups, extension officers and farmers collaborating with MAF researchers.