Posted by Carol Benson
Our speaker last Tuesday gave us an insight into Australia’s near neighbour – East Timor.  In 1998 Dave Carlos and his wife Shirley formed a connection with the Timorese refuge community in Melbourne.  They began visiting the country in 1998 and wanted to develop a sustainable business to help build the local communities, particularly those outside of the capital, Dili.
East Timor has a very young average population with 50% under the age of 20 and 75% under the age of 32.
Infrastructure is largely non existent and most roads little more than ‘goat’ tracks.  

In 2010 Timor Adventures – a tourism business was initiated.  It supports the local population to set up their own touring businesses such as walking, hiking and cycling.  They also assisted locals in setting up tourist accommodation outside of Dili.  Dave also led motorcycle tours across the country together with developing tours around the WW2 history in Timor, where Australian commandos from the 2/2nd Independent company engaged the Japanese.  
As well as the tourism business Dave and Shirley have also helped install solar systems to remote communities; surveyed a trekking route from the north to the south that followed the story of the commandos and conducted research into cultural tourism with the Alola Foundation.
Dave hasn’t been able to go back to Timor since last February because of COVID.  He is proud that he was able to continue paying the local staff for 6 months, after which they have all been successful in gaining other employment locally.   
Dave is looking forward to getting back to Timor and further developing the business.