Where do we work?: Timor-Leste

Population: 1,292,755

Area: 15,007 sq. km.

Median Age: 21.5

Literacy: 58.6 %

Languages: Tetum, Portuguese, Indonesian, about 16 indigenous languages

A brief history of independence.

mid 1500s – Timor colonised by Portugal
1859 – Portugal cedes West Timor to the Dutch
1942-1945 – Japan occupies East Timor
28 November 1975 – East Timor declared independent from Portugal
7 December 1975 – invaded and occupied by Indonesia. It is estimated that 100,000 to 250,000 were killed over the next two decades.
30 August 1999 – referendum held with majority voting for independence. Another 1400 were killed and 300,000 fled to West Timor as refugees.
20 September 1999 – Australian-led peacekeeping orce (INTERFET) deployed.
20 May 2002 – Timor-Leste internationally recognised as an independent state.

Current Volunteers   Recent Volunteers
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Below are some profiles of volunteers currently working in Timor-Leste.

Liz Keating

IFMA, Baucau Timorese vocational college Instituto Filhas de Maria Auxiliadora (IFMA) located in Venilale, Timor Leste requested an English teacher to mentor its hospitality students and staff. Run by the Salesian Sisters, the college offers technical and vocational courses among more conventional academic subjects. Vocational training is an ideal education model, particularly in rural societies, as […]


Peter Cassidy

Paroquia St Teresinha do Menino Jesus Bedois Escola Primaria Sabracalaran and Escola Primaria Bedois are two primary schools managed by Paroquia St Teresinha do Menino Jesus (St Therese of the Child Jesus Parish) in Bedois, a suburb of Dili, Timor Leste. After recent years of steady and successful growth in its schools, the Parish requested […]


Margaret Cassidy

Paroquia St Teresinha do Menino Jesus Bedois Paroquia St Teresinha do Menino Jesus (St Therese of the Child Jesus Parish) is responsible for two primary schools, Escola Primaria Sabracalaran and Escola Primaria Bedois in the outer Dili suburb of Bedois, Timor Leste. Palms has a strong relationship with the parish community and has previously placed […]


Veronica Chong

Veronica Chong in volunteering in Atabae, Timor Leste


Dianne Hanna

Dianne Hanna is volunteering for two years with the Diocese of Maliana, Timor Leste


Michele Rankin

Michele Rankin is volunteering in Balibo, Timor Leste


More Growth in Bedois

May 15, 2017

After their positive experience hosting Palms volunteer teachers Guida and Sam in 2014-15, The Bedois community in Timor Leste keenly looked again to Palms when planning expansion of their Primary School programme and establishing a new Preschool. Old Palms stalwarts, the Cassidys, were just as keen to take up the invitation- Bedois Parish, Dili, Timor […]


Growing Confidence in Balibo

March 8, 2017

by Michele Rankin. Just in time for International Womens’ Day, Michele Rankin writes of busy Balibo where even traumatic memories inspire hope and positive action. And yes: Women are a driving force- My first year in Balibo has been full of adventure and happenings. Balibo is situated along the western border of Timor-Leste and although […]


Peter Cassidy in Bedois, Timor Leste

January 31, 2017

Paroquia St Teresinha do Menino Jesus Bedois Escola Primaria Sabracalaran and Escola Primaria Bedois are two primary schools managed by Paroquia St Teresinha do Menino Jesus (St Therese of the Child Jesus Parish) in Bedois, a suburb of Dili, Timor Leste. After recent years of steady and successful growth in its schools, the Parish requested […]


Margaret Cassidy in Timor Leste

Paroquia St Teresinha do Menino Jesus Bedois Paroquia St Teresinha do Menino Jesus (St Therese of the Child Jesus Parish) is responsible for two primary schools, Escola Primaria Sabracalaran and Escola Primaria Bedois in the outer Dili suburb of Bedois, Timor Leste. Palms has a strong relationship with the parish community and has previously placed […]


The First 6 Months

August 16, 2016

Mark Broster, from western Sydney and well travelled, is the latest Palms volunteer working with Fundasaun Haburas Moris in Maliana, Timor Leste. Now with official NGO status, Haburas Moris is highly regarded locally as it continues to strengthen capacity and “develop life” for the rural communities of Bobonaro. Mark writes- It’s now been 6 months […]


Veronica Chong in Timor Leste

June 27, 2016

Veronica Chong in volunteering in Atabae, Timor Leste


Dianne Hanna volunteering in Timor Leste

March 8, 2016

Dianne Hanna is volunteering for two years with the Diocese of Maliana, Timor Leste


Michele Rankin in Timor Leste

March 1, 2016

Michele Rankin is volunteering in Balibo, Timor Leste


Below are some of the volunteer positions Palms Australia is seeking to fill in . To find out more about any position or about other opportunities, please enquire about volunteering with Palms Australia.


The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. - Charles du Bois