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.
I 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.