Children in a school
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CARE started work in: 1994

Timor-Leste ranks 141 out of 189 on the Human Development Index (HDI). CARE International’s work in Timor-Leste focuses on families living in disadvantaged areas and supports better education for children and adults.

History of CARE International’s work in Timor-Leste 

CARE International has been working in the Timor-Leste region since 1994, initially as part of CARE Indonesia. After the country gained independence in 1999, we established an office in Timor-Leste to deliver programs focused solely on the new nation. CARE International engaged in two major emergency responses following the violent outbreaks that occurred in 1999 and 2006. 

With more than 90% of government revenue coming from oil and gas, Timor-Leste is one of the world’s most resource-dependent countries. However, according to UN-OCHA and the World Bank about 40% of its population live below the poverty line, 30% of adults can’t read and more than 70% of people live in rural areas with limited health services. These circumstances are felt even more acutely by women.

What CARE International does in Timor-Leste

Current programs focus on families in disadvantaged areas and aim to achieve better education outcomes for children and adults, more babies being born safely, improved skills of health workers, and greater resilience of communities in the face of natural disasters and the effects of the climate emergency. 

CARE International 's work in Timor-Leste focuses on: 


Reach and impact data
Total participants reached in 2023
  • Direct 530,170
  • Women & girls 47%
  • Indirect -
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Total reach
  • Direct reach:
  • Indirect reach:
  • Impact:


Country page
Please note that the figures in this site may not be the same as those reported to donors or host governments based on different reporting periods. CARE's international aggregated reporting mechanisms always use the Fiscal Year from July to June.

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5 Min Inspiration: Reaching 93% of East Timorese children for over 20 years

What’s the first thing you remember reading? A children’s book? A magazine? A sign in a classroom? In Timor Leste, for people under the age of 20, the first thing they remember reading is probably something CARE produced. If you have anything in your house to read in rural Timor Leste, it’s going to include Lafaek—a suite of magazines that CARE has been producing since 2001