[Timor-Leste] Tomorrow’s faces of Timor-Leste

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

I just returned from a 6-day trip to Timor-Leste – a place that is slowly opening up to the world, as it rebuilds its nation gradually. I spent half of the trip in Dili and the other half in the highlands to the West of Timor-Leste. While the beautiful landscapes took my breath away, it was the children of Timor-Leste that I miss the most. 

521343_410922008942042_131620790205500_1223053_252926_nI was reading up on the internet and statistics show that the people of Timor-Leste are amongst the poorest in Asia, with about 80 per cent surviving on less than US$1 a day. Unemployment is high and poverty is common amongst homes. Skill levels are low and going to school is a luxury for some parts. 


Malnutrition rates in Timor-Leste are among the highest in the Asia Pacific region, as I evidently witnessed in the children, with their gold-streaked hair and bloated bellies. It pained me to see them and I have decided to work on a project to help these kids. Once it is in its final stages, I will open it up to all of you and I sincerely hope you will step forward to help.


While that is in progress, here is a simple photobook on some of the children I photographed during my trip:


Not used to seeing foreigners (my group of travelling companions was a mix of different races and nationalities), most of them were very curious, while some were shy and hid behind their parents. 


Venue: Tais Market, Dili

A place selling traditional handicrafts









Venue: Children living in the mountains

Sitting along the side selling fruits 



Venue: This was in the highlands, 1,500 feet above sea level



Venue: Atauro Island

A volcanic uplift 2 hours away by boat from Dili



Despite their poor living conditions, these children still manage to find joy in their lives. I joined them in their playground – that is, the natural outdoors.


For more photos of my Timor-Leste trip, view here.

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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