All funds raised during the Caritas Challenge in 2018 will go towards supporting the people of Timor-Leste. Located in Southeast Asia, just a few hundred kilometres northwest of Australia, Timor-Leste is one of the youngest countries in the world, it gained independence in 2002 after 24 years of Indonesian occupation. During the early years of independence Timor-Leste experienced internal conflict which broke out in 2006, but since then there has been significant effort to build a peaceful country with a stable government.
Timorese living in rural areas have limited opportunities to earn cash. Rural households are engaged primarily in low-productivity farming. Women face poverty, domestic violence and a lack of recognition of their contribution. Many are widows due to conflict and have to provide for their families alone. Hamahon Feto Timor (HAFOTI) supports members to develop and make products such as coconut oil, handcrafts and banana chips for sale in seven districts in Timor-Leste. The next step for HAFOTI is to improve the processing and retailing of local products through the establishment of production centres in selected districts.