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Timor Leste

Population: 1,084,971
Infant mortality rate: 44.46 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: 66.6 years
Population below poverty line: 42%
CIA World Factbook
ChildFund came to Timor Leste: 1990
Children and family members assisted: 173,539
"High levels of poverty are taking a toll on the people of Timor Leste. Recent studies indicate two out of every five people do not have enough food, shelter or clothing. Malnutrition is widespread. Only 50 percent of the population has access to clean drinking water.
A quick solution to these problems doesn’t exist, but by focusing on their health, we can begin to make an impact. We educate parents and caregivers on proper hygiene for their children, administer vaccinations (with support from Timor Leste’s Ministry of Health) and regularly monitor children for signs of malnutrition. Ultimately we want to keep the children of this country from becoming malnourished in the first place. To achieve this goal, we help farmers improve crop production with Farmer Field Schools and support communities with animal husbandry. Parents and caregivers are also taught about nutrition and how to properly feed their children. They learn about supplementary feeding for malnourished children and growth monitoring. Read about strengthening farming communities and food security in Timor Leste »
In Timor Leste, only about 20 percent of births are attended by trained personnel causing maternal mortality rates to reach about 850 per 100,000 live births. With support from Timor Leste’s Ministry of Health, we provide vaccinations to pregnant women and have launched the maternal health and nutrition program with support from CCF Kinderhilfswerk, a member of ChildFund Alliance and a funding partner, to give mothers-to-be a better chance at healthy pregnancies.
Safe drinking water and proper sanitation are also sorely lacking in Timor Leste. To combat this, water tanks and pipes provide communities access to clean drinking water. We also have distributed latrines to address families’ basic sanitation needs.
To supplement families’ incomes, our sustainable income program provides guidance and access to loans to women’s self-help groups to help them engage in small income-generating activities, such as selling vegetables and items at small kiosks.
Education is the cornerstone for change
To provide an educational foundation for children under five, we have established Early Childhood Development centers, equipped with learning materials, basic facilities and nutritious meals. We also offer training and curriculum development to teachers in these centers. So that children who do not live in proximity to these centers are not at a disadvantage, home-based support is available. For schools lacking government funding, we even provide financial support for teachers’ salaries.
But our educational support does not stop there. Child Centered Spaces (CCS) provide children with outlets for educational and recreational activities to support their physical, emotional and social development. We also support literacy programs for adults and vocational skills training for youth. Child Well-Being Committees give communities a forum to discuss and respond to issues directly affecting children through networking with other agencies.
Thousands of people remain homeless after the violent political crisis in Timor Leste in May 2006. Many are staying in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps without access to basic services such as food and water. Working in selected IDP camps, we focus on providing activities for the CCSs in these camps.
We are working to give Timor Leste the guidance, support and direction to create a better life for its people. Help us ensure that the families of Timor Leste have a more promising future. " (ChildFund)

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