A father farming for his family's survival

Chiquito is a hard-working farmer dedicated to protecting his family and producing sustainable food in his home in Timor-Leste. He relies on farming for their survival. With unpredictable weather, his entire family is just one crop failure from hunger. This tax time, your support can help.

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A father farming for his family's survival

Chiquito is a hard-working farmer dedicated to protecting his family and producing sustainable food in his home in Timor-Leste. He relies on farming for their survival. With unpredictable weather, his entire family is just one crop failure from hunger. This tax time, your support can help.

DONATE NOW

Timor-Leste is closer to our shores than Sydney is to Melbourne and yet they face disproportionate issues

As our closest neighbours, the two countries are friendly allies, but It's hard to comprehend the differences in lives. With nearly half of Timor-Leste people living below the poverty line, the reality of Timor-Leste poverty makes it seem like we're worlds apart. 

May 20, 2002, is one of the most important dates in Timor-Leste’s history. It is when Indonesia’s 24-year occupation came to an end and our newly independent neighbours became the world’s youngest country.

Today, 22 years later, the scars of that brutal period have yet to fully heal. Fathers like Chiquito work hard to protect their families from hunger. But the community comes up against issues like:

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Chiquito at his farm in Timor Leste. Photo credit Tim Lam for Caritas Australia.

The struggle to rebuild from war and destruction

After decades of conflict, Timor-Leste became independent in 2002 but remains fragmented in many ways. The communities are still suffering from the aftermath of the war.

Employment and education levels are low, and as a result, farming and manual labour are the main forms of work.

This leaves the community vulnerable. They are relying on crops to feed their families but face the reality that their crop production is at the mercy of unpredictable extreme weather events.

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Chiquito and his employees in Timor Leste. Photo credit Tim Lam for Caritas Australia.

The land may be vast, but it has untapped potential

While the land in Timor-Leste stretches far and wide, it often goes under-utilised.

This is due to the extreme weather conditions farmers face in the area along with the great need for the training it takes to understand how to best utilise their land. 

With most of the country’s population relying on agriculture for their survival, when devastating weather events like the floods of 2021 and 2023 wipe out crops, hunger follows. 

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Chiquitos daughter. Photo credit Tim Lam for Caritas Australia.

Children and families are going hungry

Many people don't have enough food in Timor-Leste to eat, with one out of every five facing this problem.

The long dry season caused by El Nino is making it harder for communities to grow crops.

Shockingly, nearly half of the country's children are now suffering from stunted growth because they're not getting enough food in Timor-Leste, which leads to poor health. This puts people in the most vulnerable areas of Timor-Leste at even greater risk of being hungry and getting sicker.

Your support can help farmers like Chiquito to protect their family this tax time through:

Disaster Risk Reduction plans

Communities can participate in Disaster Risk Reduction activities to help mitigate the impact of natural disasters like floods and droughts.

Training and tools

Farmers like Chiquito can access training and tools to maximise the potential of their land and grow a variety of crops to sell at markets. 

Successful food production

During lean seasons, farming families can produce enough food to feed their children three nutritious meals per day. 

“We had very limited cash, so buying food was not an option for us." Chiquito said. “We faced challenges when we did not have enough funds to respond to urgent needs, such as urgent medical bills."

Chiquito

Timor-Leste is just over an hour's flight to Australia. But their quality of life is worlds apart. 

The average wage for somebody in Timor-Leste is $AUD17.45 per day.

Chiquito and his family in Timor Leste. Photo credit Tim Lam for Caritas Australia.
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Chiquito and his family in Timor Leste. Photo credit Tim Lam for Caritas Australia.

A glimpse at whats happening to vulnerable communities in Timor-Leste

47%

of children under 5 years of age are stunted

300,000

people in Timor-Leste are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity

42%

of the population in Timor-Leste currently live below the national poverty line.

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Chiquito from Timor Leste. Photo credit Tim Lam for Caritas Australia.

Your compassion can help farmers feed their families and take steps toward making hunger history.

I'd like to make this donation

I would like to give

can help support farmers with agricultural training, helping them to diversify their crops and make full use of their land.
a month can contribute to building a mobile hand washing station to support a community with clean water. 

Other amount

can help provide support like training, seeds, and equipment that farmers like Chiquito need to feed their families and make hunger history.

Donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible