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Young Timorese women who make money from weaving Tais

Young Timorese women who make money from weaving Tais

A 24-year-old Timorese Tais Weaver, Carmelita Soares demonstrates Ermera's Traditional Tais Weaving techniques at the 2022 Tais Festival, at Novo Turismo, in Dili. Tatoli's image//Filomeno Martins

DILI, 28 february 2022 (TATOLI) – Although the majority of young Timorese are no longer engaging themselves in the activities of weaving Tais, however, there are still some young Timorese women who had been practicing the techniques of weaving Tais for years and are committed to preserving the handweaving tradition.

A 24-year-old Timorese Tais Weaver, Carmelita Soares, from Parami Village of Atsabe Administrative Post, in Ermera municipality, said that she learned the Traditional Tais weaving techniques from her mother at the age of six.

Since moving to Dili to continue her High School education at the 4 de Setembro High School in Dili, Soares keep producing and selling her Tais products at the Tais Marker in Colmera Dili.

“In my village, we make money from weaving Tais. I paid my high school fees with the money I gained from my Tais products. During my high school time, I made more money than today. Due to Covid-19, nowadays, I earn between US$50 and 100 a month,” Soares told TATOLI at the 2022 Tais Festival, at Novo Turismo, in Dili, on monday.

Soares called on the young generation to not be ashamed to learn and practice the traditional techniques of waving Tais, saying it’s part of Timorese identity and deserved to be preserved.

“It’s part of our tradition and we need to preserve and pass it to our next generation. That’s why I am willing to continue weaving and producing Tais,” Soares said.

Asking about where they get the raw materials for making Tais, Soares said they used to have cotton plants in the village, where the villagers used it to make Tais: “Nowadays, we buy the raw materials from any cotton store or Chinese store in Dili.”

At the same place, a 14-year-old Niveilha Jordão Pinto from Viqueque municipality said that she has been helping her mother in producing Tais to make the living.

“I learned how to weave Tais from my mother since I was four. We sell our Tais on the streets in Viqueque, and we sometimes make up to US$100 a month. I will help my mother to keep producing Tais and making money from it for my family,” Pinto said.

In addition, a 17-year-old Febriana Sequeira Cardoso from Bobonaro municipality said weaving Tais is a must in her culture, which women are required to know the techniques of waving Tais: “The money we get from waving Tais is vital for our family economy.”

“Apart from selling the Tais to tourists, my parents also used some of the Tais products for Traditional ceremonies, including funeral ceremony, and other cultural celebrations,” she said.

Tais is now listed alongside renowned cultural assets from other countries, such as traditional hand puppetry in Egypt, the bisalhães black pottery manufacturing process in Portugal, and the ancient art of hand-crafting “phinisi boats in Indonesia.

On 15 december 2021, the sixteenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage approved the inscription of Tais on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Related news:TL celebrates Tais as Intangible Cultural Heritage after gaining international recognition

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Rafy Belo

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