Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jose do Carmo Pinto: A LSBE trainer changed youth lives in Timor-Leste

Jose do Carmo Pinto (50), a passionate life skills based education trainer explained
how LSBE programme changed life of youths in Timor-Leste.

“I have dedicated most of my time working with adolescents and youths, assisted them to learn about life and their inner strength. I feel proud to be a part of UNICEF’s Life skills Based Education Programme as it helps many adolescents and youths to change their lives,” said Jose do Carmo Pinto (50), a well-respected Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) trainer in Timor-Leste.

His passion is working with youths, “What one could expect when you can use your passion for the good of the people,” said Jose, while talking about his achievement in life and LSBE training. 
A self- trained sculptor by profession, Jose spent his last ten years as an LSBE Coordinator of Baucau municipality (district) of Timor-Leste.

He worked with thousands of youths and adolescents, travelled all the districts of Timor-Leste and helped thousands of promising youths to flourish and grow. Many of them are now working in different sectors, some of them have established as a successful entrepreneur and few others went abroad to pursue higher education.

“He is a committed LSBE trainer.  Many young people are working in his workshop as apprentices. He ensures life skills training for all of them before they start work as a compulsory requirement,” said Sandra Gusmao, Education Specialist of UNICEF Timor-Leste, who was leading the LSBE programme in 2003 when UNICEF started supporting it and selected Jose as a trainee for the first batch of LSBE trainers. 

CFS Coordinator to LSBE Trainer: A new journey
Timor-Leste has often been in the headlines of the international media for internal crisis and years of turmoil leading up to the restoration of its independence in 2003. Baucau was one of the affected municipalities in 1999. People were killed, houses were burnt down, and many families were displaced due to the unrest.

In 2002, UNICEF opened a Child Friendly School (CFS) in Tirilolo “Suco” (village) in Baucau municipality in partnership with Caritas, a non-government agency. The school provided support for the children and youths to overcome physiological trauma they had faced during the emergency period by engaging them in various interactive activities such as music, drawing, dance, education etc.

“I volunteered to coordinate the activities of the CFS; it was open to children as well as youths. Many youths came forward and helped me run the CFS to ensure that children were able to get respite and overcome the ordeals of this man made crisis. Every day we served more than 100 children and youths in the CFS,” Jose recounted his memories.

“In 2006, again political unrest started in the country following riots in Dili.  Unfortunately miscreants burnt the CFS and looted all our materials. Everything was either destroyed or lost. There was no safe place for children and youth anymore,” Jose continued.

Jose do Carmo Pinto is facilitating a session for youths
 as part of the Life Skills Based Education Programme.
UNICEF’s Timor-Leste archive 2007

During that time, UNICEF was working to pilot the LSBE initiative in Timor-Leste. “I found Jose as a potential candidate to train as an LSBE trainer since he was working in the CFS and was well respected by the youth groups in Baucau for his leadership quality,” Sandra said while talking about LSBE initiative.

“We were looking for committed people and a respected individual who can lead the youths in their community as a part of our newly launched LSBE initiative,” Sandra continued.

‘When Mana (sister) Sandra Gusmao and Alfredo of UNICEF shared the concept of LSBE and wanted to include me as a trainer, I took the opportunity. I attended the training of trainers programme, participated in various activities, and learned the power of life skills training.”

“I learned how to become a good leader and a manager. It has opened a new window for me. I engaged myself more with the youths of my community. Started bringing them together, provided training and helped them to organise as a group and facilitated the process of helping them to grow as responsible citizens,” Jose continued.
Since 2006, Jose do Carmo Pinto, a LSBE trainer,
has been providing training to the youths of Timor-Leste
and helped them to changes theirs lives. Courtesy: Jose do Carmo Pinto

Soon Jose was appointed as an LSBE Coordinator of the Baucau municipality and was accountable to implement various activities. “I worked with the youths and involved them in various activities including livelihood training according to their interest,” Jose recounted his past. Many members of his youth team are now established members of the society and are working in various sectors.

UNICEF in partnership with the government started the LSBE programme for out-of-school young people in Timor-Leste. The LSBE programme was launched in 2003 in Timor-Leste, during the (sometimes turbulent) post-independence period. 

In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Culture, Youth and Sports UNICEF facilitated the development of a Life Skills programme that would reach the most at risk and vulnerable out-of-school youth 15-24 years to equip them with the psychosocial skills necessary for coping with the daily challenges of life and of transitioning into adulthood.

A lifelong LSBE Trainer: Touched many lives
Jose, a father of five children, took LSBE as his mission for the rest of his life. He handed over his responsibility as a Baucau district LSBE Coordinator to his young successor Virgilio Freitas (19), but he still volunteers his time to provide training to the youths.

“Jose is a passionate life skills trainer though he is not directly working with the LSBE anymore, he continues to contribute by involving himself with various youth groups and always volunteers his time for his community, especially to youth,” said Sandra. 

Jose is not only a successful LSBE trainer but also a successful father. Four of his sons completed their education and are working in various sectors and the younger one is studying at the Secondary school. His sons also extend their hands to expand his family business which was started in 1992 and turned it into a successful creative business in Timor-Leste. 

“Life skills training helps me to understand our inner strength and how to evoke a critical thinking process. Civic education and parenting skills help youth to become responsible citizens and parents in the future. I have learned these skills and will continue to disseminate these among youths. It’s my mission and I will continue as long as I live,” said Jose.

By Arifa S. Sharmin, Communication Specialist

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