Providing Seed Capital, East Timor

project partner: Opportunity International UK
location: East Timor
funding period:2003

summary When East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999, it came at a devastating cost when gangs of pro-Indonesian militia embarked on a reign of terror which left 80% of houses, hospitals, schools, banks and essential services destroyed. The economy suffered an almost total collapse as a result of this violence in 1999 but today reconstruction is underway with the assistance of organisations such as The Opportunity International Network.

Opportunity International has provided seed capital and expertise to build locally-owned and -managed microfinance institutions in 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Russia since 1971.

In 2003 Trade plus Aid donated 10,000 to Opportunity International UK to fund two new Trust Banks in East Timor. Trust Banks play a vital role in the reconstruction of East Timor small enterprise economy by providing financial services, loans, savings and insurance, together with business training, to assist poor people to develop small businesses and to provide a sustainable income for their everyday needs. Up to 20 individuals per Trust Bank will receive funding to start new businesses to support themselves and their families.

For original project proposal, click here.

Opportunity International offers an effective way for companies and individuals to contribute to empowering poor people to attain a better quality of life through their own hard work.  And since clients pay back the loans which are then recycled to new clients, the operation is entirely self-sustainable.For further information on Opportunity International visit

Project Update Reports

This project is accredited to Rouse & Co and Willoughby & Partners without whose pro bono advice there would not have been the funds available to finance this project.

Opportunity International has been assisting the people of East Timor since 2000, helping poor people to develop small businesses such as these:

Shopkeeper, East Timor.

Ana was able to start a new hairdressing business in Dili, East Timor.

Baker, East Timor.

Gabriel was able to rebuild his butcher's business in the jungle outside Dili, East Timor.