The Tour de Timor is one of the world’s most challenging bicycle races. Cyclists compete over 500-kilometres of mountainous terrain. In September, at the 2011 race, residents of Timor-Leste’s capital Dili were invited to join official competitors in a Ride for Peace, stretching along the beach from the Palacio Governo in the centre of the city to the statue of Cristo Rei, a well-known local attraction.
Upon arrival at Cristo Rei, riders were met with festivities organized by several UN agencies, including UN Women. Activities in a colorful “Feto mos bele!” (Women also can!) tent promoted gender equality as the foundation for a bright future for Timor-Leste’s next generation of competitors.
Cyclists joined children there to decorate a balloon with the “Feto mos bele!” slogan. In one corner, girls and boys learned to play together, and had their faces painted. They gathered to sign their names on a “Hau mos bele!” (I also can!) banner, symbolizing the collective aspirations of Timor-Leste’s children to become national heroes.