It is my great pleasure to write a foreword for this book of East Timorese children's stories and pictures.
These collected works vividly depict the events of the past 3 years in East Timor, as seen "through the eyes of the children".
This book is both an important historical document and a celebration of East Timorese children's creative expression.
The international community knows that East Timor has been through many years of suffering, and much of this history has been well documented by the outside world. Now is the time for the East Timorese people to give our own testimony of our experiences.
I am happy that our children are starting to do this. By letting children tell the stories of their own experiences and their own hopes, we give them a voice both in our history and in our future.
This book is also a celebration of East Timorese creative expression. The children of East Timor will now have the opportunity to grow and learn in freedom and democracy. With freedom to express themselves, children's creativity can flow, as can be seen in this book.
These stories and pictures testify to the great wealth of artistic talent of our younger generation. We must continue to nurture and cherish free expression as one manifestation of our new found liberation.
Recalling the children's experiences and their hopes for the future, I trust that this book will remind the international community of the important development work still to be done in building a new democratic nation for the children of East Timor. I thank the children of East Timor for giving me inspiration and hope for the future of our nation.
President of the Democratic Republic of East Timor