Press Release:U.S. Embassy Dili provides Timorese-made reusable masks to help thousands of children safely return to school 

15,000 children across three schools stand to benefit

DILI, June 2 – The United States Embassy in Timor-Leste donated fifteen thousand Timorese-made reusable fabric masks to the Ministry of Education as part of its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This comes as the Ministry of Education prepares for children to return to classrooms.  The donation will benefit thousands of school children and promote a safe and healthy learning environment.

The reusable fabric masks were handed over by U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Office of Defense Cooperation Chief Major Pablo Valerín, and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Dulce Soares.

“We stand in support of the Government of Timor-Leste through investing in youth,” said U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick. “These masks will ensure children can safely return to schools and have an additional form of protection from COVID-19 and other preventable diseases.”

The U.S. Embassy project provided funding for over twenty economically marginalized women to create the masks over a period of two months. The project aims to prevent the spread of infectious disease, provide economic opportunity and reduce medical waste.  The project supports the U.S. Embassy’s broader strategy of providing economic opportunities to local workers and delivering sustainable solutions.  The project was funded by United States Military’s Indo-Pacific Command, which is committed to supporting the regional fight against COVID-19.

The hand washing station project is part of the over $1.6 million   committed to help the Government of Timor-Leste fight COVID-19.  In Timor-Leste, the United States has invested nearly $70 million in health assistance and more than $542 million in total assistance over the past 20 years.