Timor Leste: Starting a business with micro-credits

In October General Praeses Ottmar Dillenburg visited Timor-Leste (East Timor): “In Timor-Leste I felt like I was catapulted back to the 18th century. I was absolutely shattered to see how the people there live in extreme poverty, without water and of course without electricity.”

The country needs to catch up in education and the provision of basic supplies. Nearly 30 % of the population do not have permanent access to clean drinking water and about 60 % of the people have poor sanitation. The illiteracy rate in the country is high.

There are some 400 Kolping members in 39 Kolping Families. The people are very imaginative, they work without any machinery most of the time and create simple products they sell to earn some money. The General Praeses met with 38-year-old Teovaldo: “I vividly remember visiting Teovaldo’s shoemaker’s workshop. He has got some basic tools only to repair used children’s shoes made of plastic. We would have thrown them away a long time ago – over there those shoes must still last a long time. However, Teovaldo was not depressed – quite the contrary. He was proud to show me around his workshop and to present the result of his work to me.“

In the diocese of Baucau Kolping grants micro-credits that members can start a business such as the production of coconut oil or the repair of motorcycle tyres. This is a promising concept that helps members to generate additional income.