Our Projects

Timor Children’s Foundation –  Samaria Children’s Home

When Bob Mitchell went to East Timor in 2002, he met a woman, named Philomena, who had opened her heart and home to disadvantaged East Timorese children. However, she was struggling to make ends meet caring for her own family and the children she had taken in. When Bob returned to Australia he established the Timor Children’s Foundation to formally raise money to assist Philomena and the children in her care – since called Samaria (St Mary’s) Children’s Home.

Samaria Children’s Home is a small private home, which cares for up to 30 children, of varying ages and backgrounds. The children in the home are either orphans, or their parents are unable to care for them. The Foundation supports Samaria by providing the funds needed to feed, clothe, educate and care for the children.

In 2006, the home they lived in was burned down during a spate of violence throughout Dili. Between 2006 and 2010 the children lived in temporary accommodation in Bacau, a small village 3 hours drive from Dili.

The rebuilding of the original residence was completed in 2010, and they have re-established there.

Samaria Children’s Home is supported entirely by the Timor Children’s Foundation. It is a non tax-deductible project.


Timor Children’s Foundation –  Dental Project

Started in 2013, the Dental Project run by the Timor Children’s Foundation, began with the aim of supporting the Dental Health of the children living in the Samaria Children’s Home. Since that first visit, the project has grown to also support other groups. In conjunction with the work done by Glebe Rd Uniting Church and The Gap Uniting Church, Dental aid work has been extended to the children and staff attending the Marcelo 2 School in Dili and to the people living in the remote community of Lospalos, 7 hours drive to the east of Dili. All money donated to the project goes directly to funding dental treatment. Every $1 donated equates to roughly $10 worth of dental treatment for these children and adults in Timor Leste.



Timor  Children’s Foundation Overseas Aid Fund – Scholarship Project –                                            

“Timor Children’s Foundation partners with the World Relief Overseas Aid Fund by acting as its agent for fundraising and the delivery of relief and development projects in developing countries.”  

Improving the level of education is crucial in creating a brighter future for East Timorese. Currently more than 50% of the people of East Timor cannot read or write. Improving the education and skills of their community, will have a flow through effect on their living conditions.

The Scholarships Project was started in 1990.  It began with Mr Arie van Klinken’s vision to support one student to complete their studies and has expanded to support over 300 students in 2015.

The Scholarships Project and it’s Committee amalgamated with the Timor Children’s Foundation in 2007. Principally, the Scholarship project involves the provision of scholarships for East Timorese students, and support for some training colleges in East Timor. We have established an oversight committee in East Timor to help support and resource this work for the longer term.  Bank Term Deposits are held in Australia to ensure the completion of all students courses should donations fall away in any year.

The Scholarships project works on two main avenues:

  1. High School and Tertiary Student Program
    The Scholarships Project provides support to university and senior high school students in East Timor by paying their fees. Contributions are also given to final year tertiary students to assist with the cost of thesis preparation.
  2. Vocational Training Program
    Unemployment in East Timor is approximately 60%. The Timor Children’s Foundation identified that support could be provided to encourage students to undertake TAFE-type training to become tradesmen such as carpenters, electricians and motor mechanics, and also training in administration and office work.
    Under this program funding is provided to reputable organisations to assist them to run such courses. The two organisations currently being supported are:

    1. Don Bosco Institute provides a one year course for the training of motor mechanics, carpenters, plumbers and electricians. These courses are providing a significant contribution to training in East Timor.
    2. Dili Institute of Technology (DIT) is a privately run institute that provides training in business (office work and bookkeeping) and engineering (motor mechanic, welding, electrical, etc)Each student that applies for assistance for study, is assessed by the Community Oversight Committee based in East Timor. This Committee carries out the necessary ‘on the ground’ work on the Foundation’s behalf. Rev Moises De Silva is the Project Co-ordinator in East Timor.

Since 1999 there has been ongoing growth in this project, thanks to the assistance of our donors.

The Scholarships Project is a tax deductible project through World Relief Australia.

2014-2015 TCF Overseas Aid Fund Financial Report

2015-2016 TCF Overseas Aid Fund Financial Report

2016-2017 TCF Overseas Aid Fund Financial Report

Previous Projects
2006 – Direct support – Mosquito Netting Project
Malaria is a major cause of death in East Timorese children under 5 years. Children who survive can be affected by ongoing fevers and anaemia, which can effect their mental and physical development.

The Project delivered up to 1,200 nets to approximately 30 institutions over the course of six months. The goal was to improve the quality of life for children by reducing the risk of contracting malaria and increasing education and awareness about the importance of using the nets. The nets also help with other mosquito borne diseases and the health and hygiene training should also improve general community health.

2008 – School Building Project
With assistance from a donation from the Arthur Earle Youth Foundation, and via a working partnership with the The Oaktree Foundation (Australian based) and Strømme Foundation (East Timor based), we were able to rebuild a number of schools in the Liquicia district that were destroyed in the violence of 2006. This included construction or expansion of community schools (especially in remoter and impoverished areas), teacher training, and scholarships for children from very poor families.

2008 – Libraries for Orphanages
In East Timor literacy levels are quite low, i.e. 58.6% of the population over 15 years can read and write (Australia has a 999% rate). Books are expensive and as financial resources are scarce money is not spent on purchasing them. The Mary Mackillop Institute in Dili publish children’s books in Tetun, a local East Timorese language. The Timor Children’s Foundation was able to purchase a range of children’s story books and educational resources for over 40 children’s homes. The Timor Children’s Foundation employed a local agency, HealthNet, to distribute and install the libraries while they were running Nutrition Education Programs for the villages.

2008 – Nutrition Education Programs
The impact that malnutrition has on the physical, mental and educational development of a child cannot be understated. High malnutrition rates across East Timor result in almost half the children under 5 being affected by moderate to severe stunting. The need for nutrition interventions in orphanages was identified during the Mosquito Net Project conducted by TCF and HealthNet (Dec ‘06 – June ‘07) which highlighted the low level of knowledge of health and nutrition related issues. (Source: www.unicef.org and HealthNet Timor Leste report June 2007) The aim was to improve the health and nutrition practices of children and their care givers in institutional care in East Timor. This was achieved by HealthNet and the Ministry of Health designing a 2-day nutrition education program which was completed by over 40 children’s homes in East Timor.

“Timor Children’s Foundation complies with the World Relief Australia Code of Conduct which is a voluntary code that sets minimum acceptable standards for smaller Non-Government Organisations that work in the international relief and development sector.” 

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