Debra's Open Road

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  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Australia 2008

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Melbourne, Victoria AUS

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 5

  • ON DVD:

DEBRA SALVAGNO

Founder
ETWA (East Timorese Women Australia)

“I've been doing stuff in East Timor for 10 years, and I don't feel any less passionate or committed to it than I did 10 years ago because it's something that's in my heart now.”

INTERESTS:

Fashion Non-Profit Organizations

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Culture Experience Fulfillment Values

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

fashion design, heritage, human rights, interior design, justification, meaning, military invasion, poverty, significance, textiles, Timor, war

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Worked in fashion and interior design but kept thinking, “What is all of this for? This is so insignificant.”
  • In 1975, Indonesia launched a brutal military invasion of Timor; lasted 24 years and was incredibly brutal.
  • In 2003, Debra went there to see if there was anything she could do to help out.
  • Had been overwhelmed by the meaninglessness of her life’s work and the field of fashion in general.
  • Finding a way to put her knowledge of textiles to good use allowed her to come out on the other side and realize she could make a difference.
  • The EWTA supports Timorese women by teaching them how to hand weave and sell various crafts.
  • By training these women and giving them a source of income, ETWA plants the seeds of self-sustaining communities in Timor.
  • Encourages everyone to learn about their heritage, think of ways that they can put their skills to use for the greater good.

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