Ra'es Hadomi Timor Oan, Timor-Leste

Ra'es Hadomi Timor Oan (RHTO) is the Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO) in Timor-Leste. It was established by volunteers in 2006 to coordinate, share information, and advocate together for the rights of people with disabilities. Officially registered as an NGO in 2008, it has grown rapidly and now has around 22 staff (all Timorese citizens).

Frederico Hornax, Australian volunteer Timothy Lawther, Linda Amaral de Sozo accompanied by her mother Isabel Gracia and her son. Photo > H.DjoyobisonoPrimarily an advocacy and lobbying body, RHTO works with local and national levels of government  to create a climate of inclusion and support integration of people with disabilities into all sectors of society. RHTO undertakes awareness-raising activities, and provides training on disability for NGOs, government and other development partners.

Since 2012, RHTO has also directly implemented a community-based rehabilitation program, assisting people with disability to access health services, education, livelihood opportunities, and improving their community participation. RHTO also actively lobbies for people with disabilities to get access to justice.

Location

RHTO is based in Dili, the capital city and most urban location in Timor-Leste. Dili is a smallish, bustling, coastal town of approximately 200,000 people, including a diverse international expatriate population. It is home to Timor-Leste’s major seaport, international airport and commercial centre. Many social activities congregate around the cafes, bars and restaurants on the beach and there are excellent local diving and snorkelling opportunities. Several supermarkets, shopping plaza and markets provide locally-grown organic fruit and vegetables and fresh fish is available daily along the waterfront.

Assistance requested

RHTO received its first large funding in 2011. It is still a young organisation and learning how to implement successful projects. The organisation is now very focused on developing staff capacity, skills and confidence, and organisational systems to be professional, transparent, accountable and sustainable. 

Impact

Through the Australian Volunteers program, an Australian Government initiative, RHTO has been supported with mentorship and training as it navigated a multi-year National Disability Awareness Project. From starting with one staff member in 2008, RHTO today has 22, including 14 in the districts. RHTO is proudly structured so that its 600 beneficiaries are not clients but members to whom it is accountable.