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Welcome Back!

Last time you were here, you were looking to help vulnerable children and families. Your support can save and change lives.

With just a swipe or a tap of a finger on an electronic device, children can open so many doors into the digital world. However, with plenty of possibilities, there are also risks. Young people may be targeted by scams, experience bullying, or be exposed to sexual, racist, or other inappropriate content. They may encounter these risks through their searches, via social media, video, gaming or chat and communication platforms.

Laura, 17, is excited to take part in Swipe Safe.

In August 2023, ChildFund Timor-Leste partnered with local youth organisation, Alumni Parlamentu Foinsae (APFTL), to implement Swipe Safe, a program that helps young people stay safe online.

“I want to use social media carefully and correctly.”

Laura is 17 and from the Lautem municipality, she is one of thousands of young people in Timor-Leste learning how to swipe safe. Laura is looking forward to learning how to stay safe on social media.

“I’m very excited to take part in the online safety training because it will help us to use technology wisely and teach us how to protect ourselves from online danger,” she said. “I want to use social media carefully and correctly.” 

Grilo, a school principal and a representative of the Ministry of Education in Lautem, said it was important for young people to access digital technologies safely to learn, develop, and connect. “I encourage all students and young people to participate in the online safety training and use what they learn in their daily lives,” he said.

Students in Timor-Leste learning how to stay safe online.

ChildFund Timor-Leste and APFTL are aiming to reach 5,000 young people and 1,000 parents in Lautem and Dili municipalities through the project. “ChildFund Timor-Leste is very proud to be partnered with APFTL,” said Erine Dijkstra, ChildFund Timor-Leste’s Country Director. “We have worked with 26 facilitators already to provide the online safety training.”

ChildFund is also working with the Timor-Leste Government’s Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, and the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Inclusion, to educate parents, guardians and schools to across the country about online safety.

“Together, we can help everyone to become good online citizens and to protect children online,” Erine said.

Eighteen-year-old Ma Thein*, from Rakhine, was forced to live on one meal a day when Cyclone Mocha hit Myanmar in May.

The teen was one of more than a million people impacted by the disaster, one of the strongest cyclones – with winds up to 250km/h – to ever hit the country.

The cyclone killed nearly 150 people and devastated thousands of homes, schools, and businesses. Ma Thein’s home in Rakhine state – which was already affected by ongoing conflict – was hit hardest.  

Ma Thein was living with her sister and working as a casual labourer when the cyclone destroyed their home, a humble thatched hut. Ma Thein and her sister found their expenses rapidly rising, having to pay for everyday living costs such as food, as well as for repairs, with little to no income.  

In response to the impact of Cyclone Mocha, ChildFund Myanmar and local partner, Ratana Metta Organization (RMO), have been supporting more than 1,600 households living in poverty with emergency food and hygiene packages. Ma Thein and her sister received food supplies such as rice, beans, and oil, and some hygiene products such as towels, soaps, sanitary pads, tooth paste and tooth brushes.

“We can now save some money to repair our house, pay for health care, and pay off old debts,” Ma Thein said. “I do not have enough words to say thank you.”

*Name has been changed