Debra Salvagno

Debra Salvagno


ETWA (East Timorese Women Australia)

Melbourne, Victoria AUS

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.


By Roadtrip Nation

Debra Salvagno

Now Playing
Debra Salvagno HighlightInterview Highlight
Now Playing
InterviewThe Interview


My road in life has been direct.
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.
Keep following my journey


High School
Community Organization and Advocacy
Victoria University, Australia



I'm passionate about women’s empowerment and community development to support women in East Timor.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Helping People