Livelihoods to set up families for the future - Timor-Leste - Mary MacKillop Today

Livelihoods to set up families for the future – Timor-Leste

Building a successful livelihood is key for people to break free from the cycle of poverty and realise their dignity through self-determination. It’s an opportunity for people to gain the independence they need to manage their own lives.

Timor-Leste is a beautiful nation where, unfortunately, a large portion of the population continue to live on the margins. In rural areas, it is especially challenging for communities to overcome entrenched poverty. Being so far from the cities, local job opportunities are scarce, and it can be very difficult for people to find ways to build a livelihood.

Adolfo - vanilla farmerThanks to supporters like you, our livelihood projects can empower people like Adolfo to earn a living that can provide long-term, lasting impact for them and their families. For Adolfo, that means putting food on the table and paying for schooling for his growing children – not just right now, but into the future.

Adolfo lives in a small, remote village in Timor-Leste with his wife and eight children. Like many of the families in his community, Adolfo’s household depends on farming to make a living. That means relying on physical abilities to work the land, having the know-how to harvest in the best possible way, accessing essential resources, and good weather to grow crops.

Adolfo has been receiving education, mentoring, and resources through our Vanilla Livelihoods project (run in partnership with Edmund Rice Foundation Australia) which helps community members get set up with everything they need to successfully grow vanilla trees. This includes a supply of vanilla seeds plus practical training in areas such as planting new vanilla trees in empty spaces, and effective and safe pesticide management.

Our Field Based Officers visit Adolfo’s field once a month to see how they can support him and the other vanilla farmers from surrounding villages. As their vanilla trees grow, their needs change. Our team members are dedicated to walking alongside people throughout the whole process – from getting started, to harvesting, to selling their produce.

“From the very beginning, I had to work hard to prepare the field and ask my children to support me to clear and prepare the field. Then planting the first vanilla trees to grow in the proper way. It’s really hard work and consumes a lot of time to dedicate in the field…

In the years coming, I could harvest my vanilla to sell in the market and earn some money to support our children’s needs…

It is so unbelievable because I started from zero and now I can say when it is time for harvest, I feel so happy because I can support myself and my family to survive and also I can pay my children’s school fees.” – Adolfo, participant in the Vanilla Livelihoods program