Handicap International's program in East Timor aims to improve the access to services (health, social, education, employment) of people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, in emergency and development settings, as well as to increase their participation in public and political life. Handicap International currently employs six national staff and one expatriate who operate out of its satellite office in Dili. The organization implements activities in Dili city and the districts of Aileu and Liquica.
During and just after the war of independence with Indonesia (from 2001 until 2003), Handicap International intervened in East Timor to assist the victims of conflict. In 2011, following a comprehensive consultation process on disability and inclusion, the organization resumed its intervention in the country in close cooperation with local disabled people's organizations as well as the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
Handicap International supports and promotes collaboration between community and national civil organizations and institutions in order to foster effective implementation of the national framework for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Specific actions of this project include providing technical guidance and coaching to the staff of the Ministry of Social Solidarity, facilitating workshops with governmental bodies to help establish a National Council on Disability, and supporting Disabled People's Organizations (DPOs) to implement their own advocacy activities at national and local levels.
In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Plan International, Handicap International identifies and break downs the barriers that prevent children with disabilities in East Timor from attending primary school. In addition to improving the physical accessibility of selected schools, Handicap International facilitates awareness raising sessions throughout the community such as parenting and life skill training for family members of children with disabilities, as well as professional training for teachers to welcome children with disabilities into their classrooms.
Vocational Training and Livelihood
In 2014, Handicap International trained the teachers and management staff of the National Technical Vocational Training Center (CNEFP) of Tibar in general disability knowledge and inclusion concepts. As a result of this project, CNEFP now promotes the enrollment of youths with disabilities in their vocational programs and has improved the physical accessibility of the center and its workplaces.