15% progress
$37,176 still needed

Sustainable Development Goals

The Challenge

A nation rich in culture, history and natural beauty, Timor-Leste is still one of the least visited countries in the world, even in the market of adventure and eco-tourism. Though the Timorese government has allocated funds to developing the tourism sector, it is a relatively low figure considering the sector poses the second-largest non-oil opportunity. As part of this, the Ministry of Tourism is working on a professional branding and marketing strategy to raise Timor-Leste’s attractiveness among potential tourists. While still in progress, the tourism industry will be critical to Timor-Leste’s future economic stability.

IFMA is responding to this potential and the opportunities it will provide to the youth of the mountainous Venilale district. The college, run by the Salesian Sisters, offers technical and vocational courses for 184 male and female students. Vocational training is an ideal education model, particularly in rural societies, as it provides employment opportunities and community-generated income. A highlight of the training on offer at IFMA is a course in hospitality and tourism. Around 85% of these students are young women.

How We’re Helping

The Instituto Filhas de Maria Auxiliadora (IFMA) has requested a Vocational English Teacher to work with the students and teachers of their vocational (Tourism and Hospitality) school St Maria Mazzarello, Venilale, located in the district of Baucau, Timor-Leste.

An important aspect of the hospitality course (and indeed Timorese tourism) is that students gain confidence in their English communication, which is a mandatory component of their course. While education policy tends to favour the Portuguese language, there is a feeling among students and parents that learning English and Bahasa Indonesia is more practical. Speaking English will make it easier for graduates to find work in the hospitality sector, as it helps them engage with international tourism partners and visitors directly.

Palms has recruited and prepared Carolyn Hadley, who has extensive experience in the field of education and who will work alongside the local teachers at St Maria Mazzarello.

Is the Project Sustainable?

Although Tetum, Portuguese and Bahasa are widely spoken, many Timorese have identified the importance of English in establishing an effective tourism industry. For the small, young nation, the importance of developing and supporting a tourism industry is integral to overall economic development.  An increased capacity to understand, speak and write English will contribute significantly to students’ employment opportunities. This is particularly true in rural areas, where tourism opportunities are abundant due to their natural and rich beauty.

The mentoring and improved English skills of teachers within the vocational school will help make it less reliant on native English-speaking volunteers.

DONATE by Direct Deposit – click here

(mean less fees taken by banks and third parties and more funds for community programs)


Donate by Credit Card

Make a recurring donation


Make a one-off donation