Azina received Carmel Impact’s Community Scholarship, designed to support marginalised and vulnerable youth in Timor Leste. She seized this opportunity with vigour and determination. After graduating with a 4-year Bachelor of Nursing degree, she is now helping to vaccinate a small rural community for COVID-19. 

Education not only gave her a hand up out of poverty, but it also gave Azina the knowledge and experience required to actively help the wider community, much of whom still live beneath the poverty line.

A Passion for Helping Others and Preventing Illness

Born in the mountains in Bessilau village, Aileu Municipality, Azina grew up one of 7 children to subsistence farmers. The family grows crops such as corn, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, and chilli. Her parents never went to school, so they can’t read or write, but that didn’t stop Azina’s desire to become more than the sum of her surroundings. Her older brother had become a Carmelite, and she too wanted to study at university. 

After receiving her Community Scholarship, she moved to Dili to commence her university studies, with the goal of returning home to support her community through nursing.

As part of her degree, she travelled to villages to collect data on patients suffering from diarrhea. She chose to look at this affliction in more detail because it’s such a common problem in Timor that impacts many children’s and families’ day-to-day health and wellbeing.

City Hospital Volunteer to Mountain Village COVID-19 Vaccinations

After receiving her Bachelor of Nursing from the Institute for Health Sciences (ICS – Institutu Ciencia do Saude), Azina’s dream of becoming a professional nurse and working at a hospital was realised. However, as the global pandemic hit Timor-Leste hard, her first experience in the hospital’s emergency ward was filled with challenges far beyond normal everyday life.

I have been very proud to work with the other doctors and nurses. They are good people, and they work so hard. We don’t want this virus to spread again in Timor.

My parents and whole family feel so much joy and happiness. They were really proud when I graduated with my degree, and then they were also proud when I started volunteering at the national hospital.


After volunteering in Dili for 6 weeks, Azina saw a job opportunity for a nurse’s position at a small village in Aileu Municipality called Tumeta. It is in a rural area in the mountains, and a long way from anywhere else. She applied and got the job! She is now working on the national Covid-19 vaccine program called Saude na Familia, vaccinating people every day.

“The Scholarship Enabled Me to Make Big Changes in My Life”

I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t receive this scholarship. Maybe I’d still be living with my parents in their village? It’s hard to find work in the village, but now I have skills I can use. I can help other people, myself, and my family … health is a big challenge for us in Timor.

It was through doing the university degree I’ve been able to become a nurse. Now I can help my community, which is what I always wanted to do. And I’ve even got my first contract. So, I feel so, so happy and grateful for all your help. If I hadn’t gone to university, I would never have been able to achieve this success in my life.


Help Us Give Hope Back to Timor

Carmel Impact is committed to creating lasting, positive change in Timor-Leste. In a nation where the cycle of poverty is already hurting its people, this recent disaster has made the situation worse. We’re so grateful to our donors and to our team in Timor who are working hard to repair the damage and bring hope back to this proud nation.

Your donation can help make a massive difference to so many people’s lives. Join Carmel Impact now!