“My wife and I both work hard but we can’t get a bank loan for our own house because banks don’t lend to young people in East Timor for this. Most of us don’t have permanent contracts so banks assume that we can’t repay a loan. We’re used to living all together but it gets crowded and even though compounds get very full, we have no way to change this. We wanted to spend more time with our kids without any interruption from other families. 

I’ve known Chris and Mary Ellen for many years and after they heard my story and saw my situation here in Timor Leste, they decided they could help. We designed the home we wanted here and worked out what we could afford. SETL has been flexible when I asked for a delay in repaying a couple of times when we had extra expenses eg my brother died suddenly and we had to go back to my village to bury him. We don’t have much spare money but we’re managing to repay as planned.

Our home is now finished and we have been living in it for a while. There were many challenges during the construction of the new house but also lessons learned on how to manage our limited finances to build a dream house. We are so happy and just want to let you know how much we appreciate being able to get a housing loan from SETL. It has improved our lives by giving us a good house, space, peace and quiet. We’re planting lots of trees and flowers in our garden to supply us and our extended family. Now we are a green and happy family.”      First Borrowers