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In 2002, Timor-Leste became the first new country of the 21st century. Home to more than 1.2 million people, the Timor-Leste population is young and vulnerable; more than 52 percent of Timorese are under 25 years old. Completion rates in primary and secondary education are low, and youth unemployment is high. Widespread poverty and a persisting legacy of violence are the post-independence challenges in Timor-Leste.

ChildFund has served children in Timor-Leste since 1990. Help make a difference and sponsor a child in Timor-Leste today.

As Timor-Leste has one of the world’s highest fertility rates, there is a strong need for quality programs designed for expectant mothers and the youngest of children. ChildFund supports 73 Early Childhood Development (ECD) service providers and works closely with the Ministry of Health to safeguard the health of Timorese infants and mothers. ChildFund continuously supports these programs by allocating resources to train preschool teachers and volunteers, doing minor repairs of the existing facilities, and providing learning materials. ChildFund also raises the awareness of parents as partners for the ECD program, teaching them about parenting roles and responsibilities.

ChildFund Timor-Leste recently initiated three pilot groups – health scouts, children against violence clubs and peer tutors – to address corporal punishment, bullying, poor health and nutrition, low academic competencies and low reading skills in several schools. Participants gain a deeper understanding of these issues and improve their social skills, such as communication and leadership. Many Timorese children also attend health and hygiene sessions conducted by adult health volunteers whom ChildFund trains. As part of a nutrition initiative, children who have learned about about gardening are now maintaining school gardens. They also participate in reproductive health sessions that cover prevention of early marriage and HIV and AIDS. The majority of the Timor-Leste population lives in remote, rural villages. Many children are forced to drop out of school because of the long distances they have to walk for school. Thanks to donated shoes from TOMS, thousands of Timorese children now walk more comfortably to school, boosting overall attendance.

ChildFund offers entrepreneurial training through a youth employment project, to help provide youth with a sustainable livelihood for earning a fair wage. Working through training institutions, we offer specialized livelihood training, mentoring and work placements in key sectors such as carpentry, agriculture, hospitality and construction. Through a partnership with the Agriculture Technical School, one of our local partner organizations provides basic horticulture training for student interns, enhancing their readiness for future employment.


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  • Holidays
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January 1 New Year's Day
May 1 Labor Day
May 20 Independence Restoration Day
August 15 Assumption Day
September 20 Liberation Day
November 1 All Saints Day
November 28 National Heroes Day
December 25 Christmas Day
Culture Timor Leste: Politics, History, and Culture
Novel Redundancy of Courage
Documentary Where the Sun Rises: A Hero's Journey
Documentary Following Antigone
Ethnography The Women of East Timor Ethnography
Music Music From the Southeast: Sumbawa, Sumba, Timor
Cookbook Cuisines of Portuguese Encounters

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