The Rights For People With Disability Project

Timor Leste

The Rights for People with Disabilities project, which builds the capacity of eight Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in Dili reached its midpoint last year. The mid-term evaluation found that the project is succeeding in raising the potential of DPOs individually, and unifying the disability sector as a whole towards wider advocacy aims. The project continues to build an advocacy movement towards the Timorese government for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Last year, the project achieved the following:
• 8 Disabled People’s Organisations received funding and training on project planning, business management, keeping finances and advocating for disability rights
• 3,125 people were reached with disability rights advocacy activities
• 3 public buildings were modified for accessibility

Social Return on Investment
Training and advocacy about the rights of people with disabilities was given to 3,125 people, at a cost of $2.78 per person.

Australian Aid Supported by the Australian Government
The Rights For People with Disabilities in Timor Leste Project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, this project is able to help improve the well-being of people affected by leprosy and disability in Timor Leste.


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The Leprosy Mission in Timor Leste

Timor Leste (pronounced Tee-more Less-tay) is a country in Southeast Asia located about 640km north-west of Darwin, Australia.  Due to many years of political unrest and a long independence struggle with Indonesia, Timor Leste is continuing to rebuild its infrastructure and economy.

The Leprosy Mission Timor Leste has been fighting the spread of leprosy in the country for more than 20 years and is currently committed to eliminating leprosy to align with the Leprosy Mission’s global goals of zero transmission, zero disability and zero discrimination by 2035. The project is building on The Leprosy Mission Timor Leste's previous ‘Better health for communities affected by leprosy project’ that was implemented in 5 municipalities, to further expand this work to the entire country with the overall objective of reducing leprosy cases and related disabilities in Timor-Leste.

In Timor-Leste, leprosy is not given priority by the Ministry of Health (MOH) which has resulted in limited funding, poor coordination and case management of leprosy. Additionally, there is limited capacity of health professionals to detect and manage leprosy and a lack of awareness and knowledge regarding leprosy at national, sub-national, community and all levels of health providers.

There has been an increase in Grade 2 disabilities as a result of leprosy and increase in the number of children detected among new cases. Timor-Leste has four municipalities with high leprosy prevalence rates and with a high rate of Grade 2 disability among new leprosy cases, indicating late detection. People with disabilities (from leprosy) living in communities also have a limited understanding of how to prevent disabilities.

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