Martina picking cassava leaves from her garden next to her home that she sells to market traders and also cooks as a vegetable with coconut oil. Martina lives in the Quelicai municipality in Timor-Leste with her 8 children. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.


With your support, we work to protect women and children from gender-based violence in Timor-Leste. We also support programs which enhance sustainable livelihoods and reduce the impact of natural disasters.

Our work in Timor-Leste 

We believe that those most vulnerable to exploitation deserve protection, care, and the chance to build their own futures. With women and children suffering from gender-based violence in Timor-Leste, our programs seek to bring dignity, protection, and emotional support to survivors. 

Click here for a snapshot of the work we have been doing in Timor-Leste for the Protection Program.


Working with local communities in Timor-Leste since 1999


We support two programs through 22 local partners in Timor-Leste


Protection, sustainable livelihoods, disaster risk reduction

Program snapshot

Protection program

(Left) Martina outside her home talking with Domingas Tilman, her counsellor from Uma Paz women's refuge in Baucau. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Running since: 2016

Partner Agencies: 13 local partner agencies

Aims: To protect vulnerable groups and promote resilience

Who it is for: Women and girl survivors of gender-based violence


  • Around 2000 vulnerable women, supported by 3 shelters, have been empowered to make decisions, to promote and protect their rights
  • These women reported that small business activities have helped them to increase their household income, sense of well-being and resilience
  • Over 200 women's groups have been supported through regular meetings and discussions, through savings and loan training and women's rights’ advocacy
  • Support services for survivors have been reinforced by setting up a new women’s shelter, in consultation with municipal government

Fact: Through this program, Caritas aims to reach over 7475 community members, including survivors of gender-based violence and their family members.

Along with your generous support, this program is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

More background

Timor-Leste is one of the youngest countries in the world and one of the least developed. Some progress is being made in improving living standards and building a sustainable economy, although poverty levels remain high.

Catch up with Bernice Sarpong our Asia/Africa Humanitarian Program Coordinator as she explains our work in Timor-Leste and the importance of localisation. 

Poverty: Most people live in rural areas and are subsistence farmers with plots too small to support their families. Nearly 42% of the population lives below the national poverty line - and 48 out of every 1,000 babies born in Timor-Leste die before their fifth birthday.

Gender-based violence is common in Timor-Leste. Approximately three in five women aged 15 to 49 say they have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at least once. Vulnerable children and people with disabilities are also at risk of violence.

Natural disasters impact Timor-Leste’s food security. Many households do not have enough food to feed themselves all year round. Changing climate patterns and more intense weather phenomena, such as El Nino, have further increased food insecurity.

You can help

With your help, we offer support to women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence, assisting them to build sustainable livelihoods and increase their communities’ disaster risk reduction and HIV and AIDS awareness, to ensure a brighter future for communities in Timor-Leste.

Become a regular giver

You can provide critical lifesaving aid and assistance to the communities in Timor-Leste devastated by earthquakes, cyclones, flooding or conflicts. Your donation means that our partners on the ground can respond quickly and efficiently when disasters strike.

Support emergencies now