Years of volunteering in Timor is rewarded

Jill Hillary OAM. Picture: Marcus Whisson d402756
Jill Hillary OAM. Picture: Marcus Whisson d402756

Now, seven years later, the former Tafe lecturer spends 10 months out the year in the Timorese capital of Dili as an organisational capacity builder and financial adviser to HIAM Health, and two weeks ago she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to international relations through health programs.

HIAM stands for Hamutuk Ita Ajuda Malu, which means ‘together we will help each other’, and Ms Hillary said it was the passion of the group’s director, Rosaria Martins da Cruz.

‘I had only been there for two weeks when I met a young Timorese woman, Rosario, who was the director of HIAM, and I thought that for a patriarchal society she was really gutsy and ballsy.

‘I thought she was someone I could work with, she had a dream and a passion for what she thought should be there for women and children’