After witnessing the terrible events that followed the Referendum in Timor-Leste on 30 August 1999, Ryder-Cheshire Australia decided to establish a home to provide relief for some of the thousands of sick and disabled Timorese people who suffered terribly in the murder, rape, arson and pillage that followed the Referendum.
At the time, patients from rural areas requiring major medical treatment were normally transferred to the Dili Hospital. Many of these patients remained at the Hospital in Dili even though they may have required only limited nursing or outpatient treatment. Examples were people being treated for tuberculosis who were on daily medication but did not need to be in an hospital bed. Similarly, people who had undergone orthopaedic surgery or who were in plaster casts after breaking bones did not need to occupy a bed, but they could not return to their homes until the cast was removed.
Also there were many malnourished children who required regular feeding and special care. Some patients stayed for months, occupying hospital beds that should have been available to higher priority patients. Often the patients were accompanied by relatives who also needed accommodation in Dili.
Ryder-Cheshire established a home in the village of Tibar, 15 kilometres west of Dili, to care for these patients and their relatives until they were able to return to their villages. The home was called Klibur Domin, which in the local dialect (Tetum) means “Sharing with Love”.
Volunteers from Australia together with local staff organised the setting up of the home and also managed it for the first four years of its operation. The home has been managed and staffed by Timorese people since 2004. Australian volunteers continue to provide assistance, especially in areas where expertise is not available locally. A Board of Management was formed in 2001 to provide control, policy direction and oversight to Klibur Domin.
The home was part of a complex which originally accommodated physically and intellectually disabled people. Most were elderly and had no one to look after them. Of the 50 residents who lived at the home in Indonesian times (pre-September 1999), only 18 remained at the home when Ryder-Cheshire took over control in September 2000. There were also 16 staff, most of whom were trained in the care of people with disabilities. These staff became the core of the workforce for Klibur Domin.
The 18 buildings at Klibur Domin were not destroyed in the mayhem after the Referendum and they were of reasonably sound structure. However, they needed a huge amount of work to repair damage done and to make them suitable for our needs. Victorian Rotary Clubs provided a team of nine volunteers to restore the buildings and services, working with local staff.
Klibur Domin also required furniture and equipment before it could take in additional patients. The building material and supplies needed, along with donated household and personal items, were loaded into a shipping container and sent from Melbourne.
Klibur Domin admitted its first patients from the Dili Hospital in January 2001 and it now accommodates up to 80 patients and residents, sometimes more.
In 2002, Klibur Domin embarked on a Project to train eleven Timorese people in rehabilitation techniques.
In 2008, due to a generous bequest, two projects were commenced. The first was a mobile Tuberculosis Team to detect and treat TB in remote villages and the second a Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) team to support children with disabilities in their communities.
In 2011, a Multi Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) Ward, the Barbara Cottage and St Damien’s were built and occupied.
In 2014, a second Mobile TB Team was formed and Klibur Domin acquired a GeneXpert machine which allowed the detection of TB and MDR-TB in a matter of hours whereas previously it sometimes took weeks to confirm a positive or negative result. A new TB Laboratory was also constructed.
In 2017 a second MDR-TB Ward was added and a structurally compromised TB ward was replaced with a much larger purpose-built TB ward.
In 2019, the John Garton Cottage for students with disabilities was constructed. Klibur Domin also won a grant from the Australian Government to implement a TB detection and control program in Viqueque.
In 2019, work commenced on a project to install a solar panels system to make Klibur Domin independent of the Dili power grid. This will be operational by late 2000.
In 2020, Klibur Domin won a grant from the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to implement a TB detection and control program in Sub-Districts of Bacau and Dili, including Atauro Island.
Vegetable gardens had been established at Klibur Domin as far back as 2001 with various degrees of success. However in 2000, won a grant from the NZ embassy in Dili to implement a Garden and Livestock Program which hopefully will mean a significant decrease in food costs and give patients the opportunity to learn new skills to take back to their villages.