Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering at Maluk Timor

What is Maluk Timor?

Maluk Timor is an NGO that aims to transform healthcare in Timor-Leste’s community health centres, so that people get great quality care, when and where they need it.

Check out our website and FaceBook page 

Here’s an 18-minute video orientation for potential volunteers and partners:

How is Maluk Timor Funded?

Maluk Timor raises its money through both fundraising appeals and through developing partnerships with other charities and development agencies, and it spends almost every dollar raised on work in Timor-Leste.

The drive for Maluk Timor does not come from large government funds or large salaries: our international staff are almost all volunteers, and the only salaries being paid to them are very small living allowances, comparable to Timorese salaries.

Check out our annual report for more details.

What is the difference betwen MT, AMT, and MTA?

‘Maluk Timor’ (MT) is made up of two independent NGOs. One is Associação Maluk Timor (AMT) and the other is Maluk Timor Australia (MTA). They work together through a relationship agreement. 

AMT is a Timor-Leste registered NGO accredited by the Timor-Leste Ministry of Justice with its own Board.

  MTA is incorporated in Australia and is subject to oversight by the ATO and the ACNC and so is fully accountable within a jurisdiction where any concerns about financial, administrative, clinical or ethical governance can be effectively addressed. 

  MTA raises most of the funds which enable AMT to do its amazing work.

We often use ‘Maluk Timor’ loosely, referring to both AMT and MTA, or just to AMT. 

Do you take international volunteers?


International volunteers are critical to our operations.

Volunteer positions come in several permutations:

Our most common volunteer position is that of in-country Mentor, to one of our Programs.

Unfortunately, we are only able to take on a limited number of volunteers at a time.

We are actively recruiting for the following in-country roles:

Do you take volunteers who are not healthcare professionals?


We consider volunteers to help with many core functions that keep MT going. E.g.:

Do you take student attachments, like medical school electives?
What does a volunteer Mentor do?

Support our Timorese staff.

Our Mentors bring experience in gold-standard clinical care, specialised health expertise and management skills. 

What is the ideal volunteer like?

At Maluk Timor we find certain volunteers make a larger, more positive impact than others.  Here are some characteristics that tend to separate these volunteers from the rest:

1. Staying for a longer period of time.  When you stay longer, you are able to better understand the workings of the organisation, see projects through to completion, and collaborate more effectively with local staff. 

2. Learning the language.  Although you can achieve a lot in English, most Timorese people don’t speak it.  Learning some Tetun makes a volunteer more effective in every respect. We have an online Medical Tetun course available which you can study before coming (please ask us for the voucher code) and we encourage you to undertake at least one week of language intensive when you first arrive (US$120/week).

Does Maluk Timor pay volunteers?


  This is an unsalaried role.
  However, volunteers may be given a monthly living allowance.  Also, most volunteers will be offered a place in one of our shared Volunteer Houses for free, and may have access to a shared Volunteer Vehicle.

Some volunteers are supported by volunteer sending agencies such as AVI (Australia) and VSA (New Zealand).



How many volunteers do you take at a time?

Varies. Typically 8-15

Do you take volunteer spouses or partners?


We consider each applicant independently. If there is a good fit between both applicants and available volunteer positions, then yes.

How long are in-country volunteer positions?

Mentors, typically 6-12 months.

Consultants, typically 2-6 months.

This may include quarantine upon arrival (duration varies with vaccination status).

Where are volunteers based? 

Mostly based in our main office in Dili. May involve being at one of our program field sites or partner organizations’ sites such as primary healthcare facilities, the national or referral hospitals, in the community in Dili or the districts, or in partners’ facilities.

What types of insurance will I need?

How much clinical work is involved?

Very little.

Maluk Timor is focused on strengthening the primary healthcare system of Timor-Leste.

Volunteer positions are NOT primarily “front-line” healthcare service delivery roles, like running medical missions clinics.

How can I volunteer in a clinical role in Timor?

Consider volunteering with these other organizations:

Bairo Pite Clinic 


Klibur Domin 

Where do volunteers stay?

Volunteers are responsible for arranging their own housing. 

However, most volunteers are offered a place in one of our shared Volunteer Houses for free. (They may contribute toward shared living costs such as gas, electricity, and minor household consumables…)

How do volunteers get around?

There are various public transport options available in Dili – taxis and mikrolets (mini-buses). 

MT Office vehicles with drivers are available for work-related travel. They are shared by all staff and need to be booked in advance. 

Volunteers may have access to a shared Volunteer Vehicle.

What are the costs involved?

The major expenses you should budget for are: 

Unless otherwise agreed, volunteers are responsible for all the above.

Do volunteers need to learn a language?


Our working language within Maluk Timor is English. However, social conversation and most interactions with patients and partners is in the local language, Tetun. 

We certainly don’t expect volunteers to master the language in the months they typically spend with us. But we do expect volunteers to work to attain at least basic fluency within their first 3 months.

Is it safe?

Yes, but we expect volunteers to take reasonable precautions.


How would I travel to Timor?

Currently very limited options.

Check out: 

Air Timor


Fly Timor

Air North

What else can I do and see in Timor?
What are the rules for entry to Timor-Leste?
Do I need a special work visa?

Yes, but Maluk Timor will sort this out for you after your arrival.

To start off, everyone* obtains a Tourist Visa (valid for 30 days) on arrival at the airport.

*Portuguese passport holders are exempted. See for more details.

Will I get a certificate?

Yes, we will issue you an end-of-volunteering letter when you leave us.

What about Covid-19?

For updated information on Covid-19 situation and travel information in Timor-Leste, see:

Great! How do I apply?

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Maluk Timor!

Volunteer places are limited, and we receive a large number of applications.

Please complete this form, and we will get back to you within 2 weeks.

If you need to follow-up, you can contact us at [email protected]