Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin – Trouble appears to be brewing in East Timor again as security forces step up roadblocks and increase security around government buildings.
Fretilin, the largest political party, is organising an anti-Government protest march across the country, prompting threats by the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, to jail participants.
But on the streets of Dili, the capital, children do not know or care about the bickering and plotting by the country's political elite who have been antagonists for decades.
Twenty-one vulnerable teenagers and young people were given disposable cameras to capture their lives. Their images are remarkable.
A girl cuddles her toy bear; three naked children sit above a waterhole; a bride adjusts her husband's tie; a cockatoo rests on a perch; children play beachfront soccer; youths tender goats; children frolic in the surf.
One of the youths, Remegito da Costa, wants to become a full-time photographer. "The pictures are my eyes, mouth, ears and feelings," he says.
Rose Magno, a freelance photographer who supervised the project for the non-government organisation Ba Futuru ("For the Future") said it was often difficult and inadequate for young people to express their traumatic experiences through words.
"Giving them an opportunity for creative outlet through the camera lens and visual narrative enables them to transform their negative feelings into seeing positive changes in their personal development and environment," Ms Magno said.
"These children and youth, most of whom have never taken a picture before, ventured out and brought back compelling interpretations on themes such as love, identity, community, peace, conflict transformation and hopes and dreams for their futures."
The photographs are in a two-week exhibition called Through My Eyes.