Our Work in Timor Leste

As an organisation with an operational base in Timor-Leste, ETF maintains an expansive presence in the nation. The impact of ETF in Timor-Leste spans various regions, communities, capacities and practices, unified by the goal of developing quality of life and empowering disadvantaged youth, through education programs. ETF’s impact in Timor-Leste can be measured by its achievements, in-country volunteers, organisational partnerships and work alongside the Timorese Government. 

ETF is in the business of developing educational infrastructure and constructing preschools to provide children with equal access to quality education. ETF’s founding goal was to erect a preschool in Railaco Motahare village of the Ermera District. This goal was realised in 2017, and since then, the school continues to cater to over 50 students annually, with over 94 graduates. In the proceeding years, ETF has committed to the construction of a further two preschools in Fahiten and Fahisoi. ETF dedicates over 90 cents of every dollar donated directly to developing preschool infrastructure in Timor-Leste. This is the primary facet of the organisation, and the crux of ETF’s operation. 

ETF’s in-country collaborators and volunteers have exponentially increased in recent years. ETF is partnered directly with the Timorese Government’s Ministry of Education (MEJD), and works directly alongside the MEJD in determining prospective preschool sites that are classified as ‘in need’ of infrastructure development. ETF has also established strong relationships with significant personnel in Timor-Leste that can barrack for the organisation beyond Australian borders. This development of an informal volunteer base in Timor-Leste is a fundamental step towards sophisticating the scope and breadth of the organisation’s operations. ETF has collaborated with several national and international organisations within Timor-Leste, foremost to better understand the Timorese context and to furthermore, to understand how ETF can continue to innovate, adapt and develop its impact in Timor-Leste. Collaboration with government and non-government organisations, communities and individuals in Timor-Leste is a core operational pillar of this organisation. 

On every level, ETF operates with the interests of local communities at the crux of every strategic and operational decision. The construction of preschools is done with the use of local materials, local labour and local construction knowledge and expertise. ETF collaborates with communities, state municipalities and representatives from the MEJD directly, ensuring that the organisation’s operation reflects the strategic focus that ETF has dedicated to empowering youth through education. 

ETF is a secular, autonomous and independent organisation that does not engage in or affiliate with any evangelical activities and is not linked to any political parties or ideals. ETF uses local knowledge, local expertise and a unique collaborating model with the MEJD to ensure that the organisation continues to create valued, vital and sustainable change in Timor-Leste. ETF operates without a ‘western guise’ in Timor-Leste, and barracks the empowerment of communities and local systems through a locally-determined emphasis on preschool education. This operating model means that ETF further develops and realises ideas that have been generated by Timorese stakeholders. ETF holds a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the MEJD, and seeks to expound and develop the theory of change set forth by the Timorese Government itself.

Pre-school Construction

Cost AUD to Build a Classroom: $20,000 AUD

Students per School: 120 (aged 3 – 6)

Want to Help Fund a School?

Our team will organise the land, equipment, and everything else. Let’s change student lives together!

Railaco Motahare Pre-School


  • Railaco Motahare: Educating The Future Network
  • Fahisoi: Deparmtnet of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Educating The Future Network

Cost: $33, 691

Fahisoi Pre-School

Phase 2:  Construction


  • Jayden Gilby and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Fahiten Pre-School

Phase 2:  Construction

Pencil Case Project

In 2017 our first project within the Provision of Learning Materials program was piloted as the ‘Pencil Case Project.’ We brought 300 pencil cases along with other learning materials to Timor-Leste in July 2017 due to the generosity of our sponsors. These pencil cases were handed out in the Railaco Motahare area and the Ermera district.

Moving forward ETF will look to continue to find ways to provide essential learning materials to Timorese students and communities in need. ETF is currently looking to partner with stationary companies and education institutions, including high schools to continue delivering materials to Timorese preschools.

Ethical Volunteering Program

ETF’s volunteer program is an organised, short- trip to Timor-Leste by members of ETF’s Volunteer Team to assist with the overseeing, planning, implementation and evaluation of benevolent activities funded by ETF. So far there has been 35 participants in 8 visits to Timor-Leste organised by Educating The Future

This in-country ethical volunteering program involves attending meetings with non-governmental organisations, mobilising regional and rural communities, collecting data and providing preschool education resources. These trips also act as an accountability mechanism and allow ETF to ensure progress is made, identify areas for further improvement and ensure funds raised are being administered for their intended purpose.