Thirteen years on, Mr Costa said the estimated 100,000 people who died under the Indonesian militia and those still alive who fought for freedom inspired him to help others in need.
“I’m thinking what we can do to improve the life of anyone,” he said.
Canossian Sister Odete Moreira, who helped organise the Independence Day event in Brisbane, also lived through some of the worst times faced by the Timorese people.
“People were killed, and there was bloodshed,” Sr Moreira said.
“Unfortunately, someone had to die to get our own freedom.”
Sr Moreira said she helped refugees who had been evacuated from their homes.
Independence Day, for both Sr Moreira and Mr Costa, is a time to thank God for the gift of freedom.
“We still have this feeling of gratitude, thanking God, because without God, we have no freedom,” Sr Moreira said.
“We want to pass to the new generation that our nation has been fought for.
“Freedom was not easy, but we want to celebrate and carry this on to our children.”
Passing on this freedom continues in many ways, as guests attending last week’s Independence Day “party”, raised money for orphans in Maliana, Timor-Leste, which houses several children whose parents died under the Indonesian military.
“Some of the kids are victims, so it is a good way to share our event with others in need,” Mr Costa said.
Sr Moreira said the 50 Maliana orphaned children desperately needed a room for studying and after-school activities.
The orphans’ only large area is the orphanage verandah.
Sr Moreira said the Canossian Sisters would welcome any donations for the building.
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