“My name is Saturnino de Araujo and I am 23 years old. I was born here in Clacuc and live here with my wife.
“After I completed high school I returned to my village but was not able to find work. In 2017 UNDP organized a workshop in our Suco to launch its coastal resilience building project.
“My friends and I heard about the implementation of activities to restore mangroves and support the local community to improve their livelihoods.
“I participated in awareness raising and a community consultation meeting as well as the fencing of 848 ha of mangroves and wetlands of Lake Modomahut.
“During the youth forum that UNDP organised in Clacuc – attended by more than 50 youth – my group of 20 people learned a lot about conserving and protecting our environment and mangroves ecosystem, as well as creating our own jobs to generate income. This workshop really opened our eyes.
“After 157 farmers from Clacuc and Fatucahi organized themselves into a group and start cultivating 20 ha of land to grow fruits and vegetables with the support of UNDP, our youth group, requested the Suco Chief to provide us with land to cultivate and he offered us eight hectares.
“We feel so inspired and motivated by the support and capacity building provided every day by and we are working hard to see our dream come true.
“With UNDP support we fenced our farmland, finalised the land preparation and will plant fruit and vegetable seeds.
“We have a vision of being one of the big fruit and vegetable producers in Timor-Leste and want to inspire more youth to work like us in cultivating the fertile land we already have rather than migrating to the city to look for jobs.
“We are thankful to UNDP for the support and motivation, and we are proud of our initiative.
“In the future we want to establish a fruits processing home industry using our learning to contribute to our community and the development of our country.”