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Djemison Robert Lalang – TLM Hero

A middle-aged man from Indonesia wears a sweater and looks to camera

Djemison Robert Lalang is known affectionately as Tiu (Uncle) Jimmy to Misaun Lepra staff, our partners, and persons affected by leprosy across Timor-Leste and West Timor Indonesia.

Tiu Jimmy was born in Alor, NTT- Indonesian in 1962. However, tragedy struck in 1973 when Tiu Jimmy's father, who was a nurse for leprosy patients in his village, passed away. This forced Tiu Jimmy to bury his aspirations for higher education and moved to what is now known as Timor-Leste in 1978 with his uncle, who was a police officer in what was then known as East Timor.

After graduating high school in the mid-80s, Tiu Jimmy worked with the Indonesian Ministry of Health for a time and married Tia Alicia with whom he has three children.

Tiu Jimmy started his journey with The Leprosy Mission in Indonesia, where he worked as a driver throughout the 1990s. He covered both East Timor and West Timor until East Timor separated from Indonesia in 1999.

Tiu Jimmy was the Mission’s first local member of staff, with other staff originating from overseas. As such, he became a hero by identifying cases of leprosy on mission trips in east and west Timor during the Indonesian occupation. Such was his dedication to these mission trips, Tiu Jimmy missed the birth of all three of his children.

With versatility and dedication, Tiu Jimmy worked with TLM until 1999 when he returned to Dili for family commitments.

In 2002, The Leprosy Mission restarted its work in Timor-Leste and Tiu Jimmy reprised his former role of connecting the work of the Mission.

Tiu Jimmy’s dedication was tested as he navigated through villages with poor road conditions, damaged bridges, and natural obstacles like rivers and floods.

Despite doubts about leaving his current job for a more lucrative offer, Tiu Jimmy chose to honour his father's legacy of serving leprosy patients with quality care through nursing and medicine; this Mission resonated deeply within him.

After so many years of service, Tiu Jimmy has excellent knowledge of leprosy and our programmes, which has caught the eye of the Misaun Lepra leaders. Thanks to this long history, he is always the first person called upon to tell what the people of Timor call our ‘river story’ – the story of our history in these lands.

From humble begins as a driver, Tiu Jimmy's journey exemplifies dedication and faith. His experience in logistics and as a driver have been instrumental in advancing Misaun Lepra Timor-Leste's mission; he has become much more than a driver and today is Chief Logistics Officer for Misaun Lepra.

Through all the challenges faced and all the successes achieved, Tiu Jimmy remains grateful for the experiences and opportunities that have shaped his path. Tiu Jimmy continues to be an example of hope in the fight against leprosy.

Tiu Jimmy’s story is not just one of personal sacrifice and resilience but also a testament to the transformative power of unwavering dedication to a noble cause.