Poverty is widespread in East Timor with 41.5% of the population living below the poverty line of US $0.88 cents per capita per day. What is more concerning is that this has increased by 2% in just three years. Life expectancy at birth is 60 years and more than half of the 1.1 million population are under 18 years of age.
58% of Timor-Leste children suffer from chronic malnutrition. It is a fact that 38% of children suffer from anaemia most often caused by poor diet, malaria, diarrhoea and intestinal worms. Health standards are extremely low and many people must walk up to four hours to reach the closest medical facility. Infant mortality rate is very high with 52 deaths from every 1000 live births. 20% of children have no access to primary education and adult literacy levels are below 60%.
A way forward for Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste is one of our closest neighbours but one of the world’s poorest countries.
Ravaged by war and 24 years of Indonesian occupation and the almost total destruction of all infrastructure following the independence vote of 1999, Timor-Leste is struggling with a fragile economy, high unemployment, massive food insecurity, poor quality education and health services. The people of Timor-Leste know that a significant way forward is through training and jobs.