Timor-Leste opens first community pantry

Published April 22, 2021, 8:40 AM

by Jaleen Ramos

“Make compassion universal.”

A community pantry has opened outside the Philippines on Wednesday, April, 21.

Inspired by the community pantry movement sprouting all over the parts of the Philippines and the Filipinos’ indomitable “bayanihan spirit,” Timor-Leste has launched its first community pantry dubbed as “Bairro Farol’s Community Pantry” on Wednesday, April 21.

Photo courtesy of Vice Consul Laser Sumagaysay/ FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN

The community pantry bears the sign: Please give what you can. Take what you only need for a day.

“I took the opportunity to discuss with some Timorese friends and diplomats about the concept of “bayanihan” and particularly showed them photos of #communitypantry set-ups in PH to which they gained much interest,” Vice Consul of Philippine Embassy in Dili Laser Sumagaysay said in a Facebook post.

He said the initiative aims to help Timorese residents who have been suffering economically as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and from the recent flash floods that hit the country.

On April 4, heavy rain overwhelmed Timor-Leste’s capital Dili, causing severe flash floods and landslides into populated areas.

Photo courtesy of Vice Consul Laser Sumagaysay/ FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN

“In my perspective, as both [a] private individual and diplomat, being in TL provides the opportunity to live and serve in a nation that is quite less developed but whose people are not in any way less spirited or determined than us Filipinos,” Sumagaysay said.

He added that although aid operations in Timor-Leste were primarily focused on the Filipino community, they believe that they “can still contribute to the overall humanitarian effort of our host country.”

“It could simply be by introducing beneficial PH practices, values, or concepts in the hopes that it could be replicated, adopted, or improved by the local community,” the diplomat said.

Rozilia Esperança Dos Reis, organizer of Bairro Farol’s Community Pantry, said she also hopes that other communities in the country would follow the initiative and that “compassion and honesty would prevail.”