Monday, 7 March 2011

Timor-Leste's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries opens TOHA Launch Party and Fundraiser

Dr Mariano Sabino (left) and Dr Antonino do Karmo (right)

The Timor-Leste Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Mariano Sabino, was the guest of honour at the TOHA launch party and fundraiser at the Venture Hotel on Wednesday night (March 2nd). The event was attended by around 200 people, including Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Chair of the National UNESCO Commission and the Alola Foundation, who is also the wife of Timor-Leste's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.  The TOHA Steering Committee is still preparing the accounts of the funds raised but we are happy to say that the amount will definitely exceed our expectations and we would like to extend our gratitude to all of the generous sponsors and guests who made contributions. Thanks to them, we will now be able to prepare an action plan for TOHA to start working on the objectives in our mission statement (click on the tab above this page to find out more). 

Kirsty Sword Gusmao chatting with Dr Mariano Sabino

In his opening remarks, Dr Mariano Sabino said that whilst his primary concern was the well-being of livestock, for its economic importance to this developing country, he also supported TOHA's campaign against animal cruelty in Timor-Leste: "I believe that our animal companions, our dogs and our cats, deserve to live out their term without having to endure the suffering that is sometimes inflicted on them due to ignorance. We, as a country, need to adopt a more humane perspective on all of our interactions with animals. Buffalo, pigs, chickens, dogs or cats – it doesn’t matter which species they are – should all be able to live out their lives without pain or cruelty. We depend on them and they depend on us. They ask for nothing more than a useful life and a quick end when the time comes. We should respect that. Through TOHA, I hope that these ideals will take hold in the Timorese mentality; it is, above all, the people of Timor-Leste who stand to gain most from this philosophy".

Sabino also said that TOHA could play a valuable role in supporting Timor-Leste's activities as a permanent member of the OIE (World Animal Health Organisation), which will be offering support to the government as it prepares its national strategic plan for veterinary services. TOHA Vet Antonino do Karmo is Timor-Leste's envoy to the OIE as well as a key member of the Sabino's staff at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. 

"There have been many advances in veterinary science in recent years, and we are very fortunate to have Dr Antonino do Karmo both within the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and as Interim President of TOHA. TOHA can act as a bridge between the Ministry and communities throughout the country in communicating and helping to apply the latest technical advances in animal husbandry in the field. TOHA can also help to connect us with donors and supporters overseas, who need to act through a local civil society partner in conjunction with the government", Sabino said, "We need focal points like TOHA to help us to apply programmes in the field and to open the channels of communication between Ministry and farmer, between Dili and the districts". 

Do Karmo followed up the Minister's speech with a presentation of TOHA's mission statement and objectives. 

Antonino do Karmo makes a heartfelt presentation about TOHA
and his life's mission caring for animals in Timor-Leste  

Once the formalities were over, guests enjoyed snacks and drinks whilst they listened to live music from "The Flippers", sponsored by Bruce Sinclair from Nautilus Restaurant. Kirsty Sword Gusmao and family helped draw the raffle tickets: Mr David Odlington-Smee won the star prize, a Hewlett Packard desktop printer. 

TOHA would like to thank all of the following companies and individuals for helping us to make this an enjoyable evening and for enabling us to work for animal protection and welfare in Timor-Leste: Susanne and Renee Jakszus from Austria, World Vets, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, Nautilus Restaurant, TOLL Timor-Leste, the Esplanada Hotel, Colleen Coy Pilates, Women's Woven Art/Trisha Johns, Cooperativa Cafe Timor-Leste, British Hairways, ANZ Bank, FreeFlow Diving, Dili Deli, SanCar, Hair Spa, Compass Charters, Beauty Beleza, Rotary International, Timor Telecom, Dili Building Solutions, One More Bar, Anteater Sanitation. A special thank you to Sheilla and all of the staff at the Venture Hotel for helping us to put on a great party.

For a video report in the Tetun language from Timor Today, click here . Thank you, Marcelino!

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