Hamutuk Ita Ajuda Malu Together We Help Each Other
HIAM Health


Several opportunities await you to share your gifts and time at HIAM Health. We need volunteers to educate,train and build capacity of our staff and Timorese nationals on specific and measurable skills. Please bring teaching aids and be prepared to assess those who complete your training. Accommodation is available at cost for international volunteers.

We are looking for self-funded volunteers in the following fields:

  • Nursing (Specialising in children)
  • Health Education
  • Child Development
  • Nutritionist/Dietitian
  • Physiotherapist (Specialising in children)
  • Occupational Therapist (Specialising in children)
  • Leadership & Management
  • Research & Data Collection
  • English Language Education
  • Mechanic (Servicing and basic repair training)
  • Handyman (Welding, painting, maintenance)
  • Finance (All aspects of MYOB)
  • Agriculture
  • Communications and Media
HIAM Health staff working with family members.
Community Group Training.

To date, HIAM Health has benefited greatly from international volunteers. All of our staff are eager to learn and share our culture. If you have skills to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch with us and we will respond to you shortly.


Volunteer Stories

A Life-Changing Experience

Our time at HIAM health was an amazing cultural, emotional, and educational experience for the three of us. Despite enduring incredible hardships, the Timorese are happy and live simple lives. They are eager and interested in learning new skills, especially those in our classroom.

For 20 days, we taught the fundamentals of Breastfeeding, Empowerment of Women, Nutrition and Fertility to the community leaders, resident mothers and staff of HIAM Health. Together, we enjoyed singing, games and much laughter. They shared culture and personal stories that we will never forget.

Our aim in educating the nurses and staff was to improve their outreach capabilities within the outlying communities. We found them to be professional, and they enjoyed passing on their newly learned skills.

We learnt of many alarming practices and misconceptions about maternal health which led to malnutrition.

For example, the mothers eat very little during pregnancy so they can have small babies in the hope of making the birthing process easier. Many give birth at home and some still don’t give colostrum – the first and most important milk– as their cultural belief is that it is yellow and therefore dirty. Sadly, they feed infants sugar water in its place.

It is custom for mother and child to stay beside the fire in a smoky room for a number of days postpartum. They usually breastfeed to beyond 2 years of age, and all sleep with their babies. Mothers believe when they are pregnant with their next child, that they should wean the first. Unfortunately, they believe that the fetus will be “infected” by their milk if they continue to breastfeed. Because of lack of education and support, they stop breastfeeding if they experience inverted nipples or delayed milk supply. If their milk is not flowing well by Day 2, they simply give breastfeeding up.

That's why the MR&EC is unique in Timor-Leste because it takes a holistic approach in tackling the root causes of malnutrition, treatment and prevention. Families under the care of the MR&EC are educated and equipped with skills to combat malnutrition and in turn take this knowledge back to their communities.

Jill Hillary who works as the advisor and sole fundraiser for the MR&EC and puts an incredible amount of time and effort into making sure the centre is provided with the necessary funds to run smoothly. Witnessing Jill’s endless passion, energy and concern for the Timorese people inspired us and motivated us to nominate her for the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Volunteers Sue Williamson, Anne Scollon and Maree Twomey
by Sue Williamson, Anne Scollon and Maree Twomey Two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and a Dietician