ATLAS is well aware that, despite the tremendous efforts to develop the country during recent years, Timor-Leste remains one of the poorest countries in the world with 42% of the population still living under the poverty line of USD 1.90 per day. It is also well aware that the disastrous flood of April 2021 together with the struggle against the spread of COVID-19 has been a big blow to those already living in severe poverty. Among the poorest and most destitute are orphan children, left without parents or relatives who can care for them.
During this period, St Therese’s Orphanage provided a loving home for 30 children ranging from 6-16 years. They come from 13 Timorese districts and are referred to the Orphanage usually through the concern of Priests, Religious Sisters or members of the wider community.
In the early months of 2021, the Sisters and children at the Orphanage were severely impacted by flood damage and the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Although the Orphanage building itself was undamaged, the surrounding infrastructure, like roads and bridges, suffered damage and this, in turn, restricted travel into Dili or other districts.
During the time of emergency and lockdown the children were by no means idle. Besides homework, they turned their efforts to making a highly nutritious diet supplement, Moringa. This Moringa was produced in their own kitchen, the building of which was funded by ATLAS.
The Carmelite Sisters learned about this excellent product from Sister Joan Westblade LCM (now deceased and first honorary member of ATLAS). ATLAS is proud that these children turned their attention to making this nutritious supplement to help, not only themselves, but so many hungry children at that time.