Kirsty Sword Gusmão

Australian-born Kirsty Sword Gusmão has lived in Timor-Leste for seven years. She grew up in Melbourne and Bendigo and attended Melbourne University where she completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), majoring in Indonesian and Italian, and a Diploma of Education.

From 1992 to 1996, she lived and worked as a teacher and human rights campaigner in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was during these years that her work for the East Timorese independence cause intensified and brought her into contact with the independence leader, Xanana Gusmão, who was serving a 20-year sentence in a Jakarta jail and whom she married in July, 2000.

Kirsty has three sons and is very active in her local community of Balibar, on the outskirts of Dili district, assisting the local pre-school and primary school and conducting vocational training of local women.

Her book, A Woman of Independence, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2003.


Women and children first

MemoirROSALINA XIMENES' EYES were downcast as I leaned forward to kiss her lightly on both cheeks. I caught the smoky scent of the firewood she had used to cook her last meal as I pressed the envelope of money...

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