Books for Asia in Timor-Leste
The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program began operating in Timor-Leste in 2004, and has since donated more than 100,000 books to schools, libraries, nongovernmental organizations and public-sector agencies throughout the country.
Status of Education in Timor-Leste
Pre-independence negligence and damage incurred during the post-liberation period left Timorese educational institutions barren of resources and 90 percent of schools and educational facilities destroyed. Only 58.6 percent of the population of Timor-Leste is considered literate and more than a third is under the age of 15. The nation comprises 450 villages across 13 districts with poor infrastructure, no national postal system, and very limited access to print media, radio, or television. Most of the population survives on less than US$1.00 per day. English is spoken by a small percentage of the population (5.8 percent) but is gaining in popularity.
Books for Asia Timor-Leste distributes 30,000-40,000 new textbooks and general reading materials donated by American publishers annually to approximately 140 organizations across all of Timor-Leste's 13 districts.
Mario Filomeno da Costa Pinheiro
Senior Program Officer