Timor Leste is one of the world’s newest countries, having won independence from annexation by Indonesia in 2002. It consists of the eastern half of the island of Timor, together with a small enclave, Oecusse, in which leprosy happens to be particularly prevalent. TLM has been involved in combatting leprosy in Timor Leste since the 1990s, through the posting of cross-cultural staff there, but there is now a local team of Timorese staff with their office in the capital, Dili.
One of TLM’s significant achievements has been the development of an independent, national organisation of persons with disabilities and the Association of Disability in Timor Leste, with which TLM works closely to promote quality of life and full participation in society. A community-based rehabilitation project aims to integrate people affected by leprosy back into the community, particularly through the formation of flourishing self-help groups of people affected by leprosy and by disabilities.
Leprosy itself is now very much reduced in Timor Leste. TLM continues in partnership with the Government to work towards leprosy elimination and reduced leprosy-related disability in high-endemic districts – particularly in Dili, Baucau and Oecusse, where the project focuses on early diagnosis and treatment, prevention of disability and greater leprosy awareness in communities. TLM also supervises and monitors the lower endemic districts.
TLM’s country leader in Timor Leste is Afliana (Nona) Lisnahan. The annual budget is around £350,000.