Timor-Leste is a young nation with a violent history: centuries of colonial rule by Portugal, a bloody occupation by Japan during World War II and 24 years of brutal Indonesian rule. The violent rampage following the vote for freedom in 1999 left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands terrorised and displaced. Local service infrastructure was severely damaged, polluting water supplies and systems for crops.
Now significant challenges remain for Asia’s youngest and poorest nation. Little work is available in rural regions so young people drift to urban areas where there is high unemployment. Our projects in Timor-Leste have focused on upgrading facilities in pre-primary and primary schools as well as providing nutritional meals to students. Our focus has now shifted towards health issues prominently malnutrition and working to address the underlying causes of chronic malnutrition, stunted growth and access to safe drinking water.
Population: 1.296 million
50% live below national poverty line
60% of the population is under the age of 25
Adult literacy: 67.5%