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Timor-Leste now

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Building a better future

More than three-quarters of the population in Timor-Leste is under 30–making it one of the most youthful countries in the world.

Eurfrazia Amaral Menezes, 23

Eurfrazia Amaral Menezes, 23, lost her uncle during the conflict and knows about the toll of war first-hand. As her family mourned, she was forced to stay home and could rarely venture out of her home.

These days, she is a mathematics student at the National University of Timor-Leste and aspires to teach young people math to prepare them for jobs. She doesn’t mourn the lost time or hate.

Fernando Baptista Xavier, 27

“You can always look back,” she said. “We need to move forward. For me, personally, (my goal) is to be a better woman to serve my family, my society and my country.”

Fernando Baptista Xavier, 27, has a simple aim: To return to the village where he was born and give back to the people and community that raised him. He studies agriculture at University of Timor-Leste.

“My people are in farming,”he said.“We need to value the lifestyle we have developed.”

The days of the conflict are past, he says, and the future for Timor-Leste is bright.

“I’m optimistic that this country is moving forward to the future.”

Eva Tavares, 22, grew up around farmers and wants to help them improve their yields, and, ultimately, their livelihoods.

Eva Tavares, 22

She studies agriculture at the University of Timor-Leste and hopes to stay in Timor-Leste, working with rural farmers and technology.

“The majority of people are in agriculture,” she said. “That is what pushed me to study it.”

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