Domingos's Story

Mental Health and Poverty

Domingos lives with his wife and children in a remote farming village a couple of hours from Dili in Timor-Leste.

He suffered from mental health issues for decades following the brutality of the Indonesian occupation. His illness made him violent and erratic. He had to sleep in a shed away from the rest of his family, and the neighbours didn’t understand his condition and made fun of him.

Although Domingos and his wife were doing their best to make ends meet, they struggled to grow enough food to eat and send the children to school.

Domingos feeding his pig

A right to dignity

Domingos finally received the medication and counselling her needed to get well through our friends at Psychosocial Recovery and Development in East Timor (PRADET).

After his behaviour stabilised, he moved back into the main house with his family. We checked in regularly with his wife and neighbours to ensure it was safe to do so.

We then began looking for ways to help Domingos establish a long-term income that could lift his family out of poverty.

Domingos and his wife outside their new house

Building a new life

With his health restored, Domingos was able to attend training in horticulture and business. He received seeds to start some small-scale agriculture, both to feed his family and earn extra income.

Domingos also took the initiative to build his own well and water pump. With a reliable source of irrigation, he is now growing a diverse range of vegetables, including sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, tomatoes, and mustard. He is preparing nutritious meals for his children and earns an extra $40-50 per week selling his produce to local families and vendors in Dili.

Domingos and his wife use their profits to pay their children’s school fees and buy books and uniforms. They have also upgraded their house with concrete walls and flooring.

“We are working very hard and now we have enough to support our kids,” said Domingos.

Donate now to help more people like Domingos access health care and break the poverty cycle.


Sustainable Development Goals

1. No Poverty      8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

10. Reduced Inequalities  17. Partnerships for the Goals


This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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