SETL is a not-for-profit incorporated association, established in 2012 and incorporated in March 2014.

It has a Management Committee and an Advisory Committee with financial, legal and business expertise.

ABN 33 754 047 620

It delivers low interest rate housing loans to young people in Timor Leste.


About SETL    

  1.   A not-for-profit association providing mostly housing loans.
  2.   Interest rates are low.
  3.   SETL is flexible, able to negotiate temporary changes in the circumstances  of borrowers.
  4.  Type of house is up to the  borrower.
  5.   Loan is not a gift – loans have to be repaid with an interest rate that helps maintains the fund against inflation.
  6.   SETL is not a charity – no tax deductions for donors.
  7.   Other small loan schemes inTimor Leste do not provide this amount  (up to $ US25000), nor for housing.


SETL loan scheme began in response to a need on the ground in East Timor. Timorese culture is communal and housing is generally crowded. There is little possibility of young ones with jobs getting their own place.  Banks lend only to government  projects and to the few public servants with a permanent contract at very high interest rates. Contract work is the norm so young ones cannot qualify for a housing loan like young people in Australia can.

How is the next generation to function in this kind of housing situation? They have been busy educating themselves in a country where literacy is still a major problem, where the infra-structure was completely destroyed in 1999 (post the election for independence from Indonesian control) and where the local pool of skilled people was virtually non-existent because those jobs were done by the colonialists.

Effective leadership from the next generation requires some personal living space and room for reflection, just as we would consider essential in Australia.

Future of SETL                                                                                                 20141203_103225

  • First house completed 2015, borrowers repaying.
  • Flexibility with 1st loan: over Christmas and after a sudden family death, repayments halted for 2 months to cover expenses. This flexibility will continue.
  • Pilot Program was completed in mid-2016 and learnings were incorporated into SETL’s processes.
  • Agent in Timor Leste will now do the financial assessment and education of new borrowers.
  • As repayments rebuild enough, loans will become available to the next borrowers in Timor  Leste.
  • Long term aim: to have the scheme administered in East Timor with funding from Australia.


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