Name: Dulce Adolzinda Ximenes Soares
Institution: Victoria University
Course of study: Civil Engineering
Years completed: 2013
Dulce Adolzinda Ximenes Soares graduated from Victoria University in civil engineering in 2013.
While in her final year at University, Dulce was selected to give a presentation about an Engineering Without Borders (EWB) design challenge for first year university students coordinated by the International EWB Challenge team and delivered in partnership with universities around the world.
Since her return to Timor-Leste, Dulce has been employed by Plan International as a project manager of a Water Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools program where most of her time is dedicated to working for the community, especially school children who live in rural and remote areas.
As an engineer, Dulce is responsible for technical designs of latrines. She also undertakes advocacy with the Government of Timor-Leste and local leaders in order to work collaboratively to implement this and similar programs.
“By building the latrines some people might be thinking that, this is just a latrine or a toilet. However, it is not just the latrine itself but hygienic behaviour we are trying to encourage.” According to Dulce, if we are able to change behaviour towards using toilets – especially school children in rural areas – there will be an effect on the whole community.
“The aim is not to encourage them to have a toilet, but to understand a healthier way of living life, and the benefits this will have for them.” Dulce explains that if the community does not use latrines, common illnesses spread quickly and have a serious negative effect on families – including children’s ability to attend school and parents’ ability to work and care for their family.
“Let’s hope with the work that I am doing, we can minimise persistent health issues that have concerned our government and our people for many years” she added.
Dulce is involved in another Plan International program called Woman in Engineering (Feto Enjiñeira) that encourages technical women all around Timor-Leste and young girls to participate in any activities being offered with the aim of building their capacity to contribute Timor-Leste’s development. The group showcases Timorese women involved in engineering and how they overcome the obstacles that they faced.
Dulce hopes that her engineering contributions will make a strong impact on the development of this country, and that she will be a role model, demonstrating to young girls that females can achieve great things working in non-traditional sectors like engineering.
For more info, please go to: https://globalalumni.gov.au/AustraliaAwards/Home.aspx