We meet needs in a holistic and caring way

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    We dream of a Timor-Leste whose children grow to love learning, love righteousness, love neighbour and love nation. We aim to be a centre of excellence for education, moulding minds, shaping character, and building capacity to empower Timorese towards national transformation.


    Cocoon is an officially registered local Non-Governmental Organization with the Ministry of Justice, Timor-Leste.



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    Timor-Leste's most precious resources are her children. Cocoon believes that quality early childhood education is a critical pathway to national transformation. Join us in sparking transformation, one child at a time.

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    We believe that every child has the ability and desire to learn. Our commitment: To prepare an orderly, safe, creative and FUN learning environment where children are free to develop at their own pace. 

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    A distinctiveness of the Cocoon Kindergarten is the multi-aged class. Younger children learn from observing the older - the older ones reinforce what they have been learning by helping the younger!

    Children are also free to work and play together in groups, developing the social skills vital to life's success.

    In this highly-social environment, teachers work with individual children, or present lessons to a small group. Teachers and children alike end the day by having a meal together.


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    During class, children are also free to choose for themselves a range of activities designed to develop the individual's concentration and fine motor skills - foundational pre-requisites for all future learning.

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    Parent-teacher meetings provide essential contact with parents in our joint aim of supporting their child's education.
    Home visits are also made by Cocoon teachers in order to have a better understanding of our students' families and their environment.


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    Our Mission

    Quality education; national transformation

    Drawing on the life cycle of the butterfly, Cocoon is about changing lives. We want to catalyse and sustain holistic social and spiritual transformation in Timor-Leste through education, with a special emphasis on English language skills. In all our programmes, we also stress character formation and community service.


    Cocoon believes that Timor-Leste's large numbers of children and youth are her greatest hope. They are the future of the nation and deserve our best investment of time and love.


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    Our Beginnings

    Our roots

    The year was 2007. Asia's youngest nation, Timor-Leste, or East Timor, was again stricken by violence. The outbreak of civil unrest in 2006 had exposed faultlines in the new nation, as post-election transition, party rivalry and gang fighting came together to create a volatile and tense situation. Many communities in the capital city Dili became a battleground for rival gangs. Street fights and stonings were common.


    It was against this backdrop that the vision of Cocoon was sown into the land of East Timor. Three months after first arriving in July 2007, Ting Siew Lee and Wong Li Shan shared the vision of transforming lives and communities through education to a Timorese leader in Bairro Pite, a suburb in Dili. The message brought hope in the hotspot of violence.


    Together with strong support and help from local leaders, the first Cocoon English lessons started in November 2007.

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    Our Milestones

    Tracking our journey

    The Cocoon Library finds a home:

    It was to be a community library, a learning centre, and a safe place for youth and children to hang out. In 2009, we found the perfect location along a busy main road within the community of Bairro Pite.

    First local staff & expansion

    The first East Timorese staff also came onboard in 2009 to serve alongside the Singaporeans. As former students of Cocoon, they had caught the heartbeat of Cocoon to serve others.

    Cocoon then embarked on teaching children. It was a steep learning curve for the young team, as we drew up lesson plans, created teaching materials, and conducted on-the-job training for the local staff. As operations expanded, we rented more facilities in the compound to make room for more classes.

    Official NGO status & land acquisition

    We became officially registered as a local NGO with the Ministry of Justice in 2011. In December 2012, we bought the land we had been renting to prepare for further expansion. Since 2017, we have been upgrading our premises to better serve our Timorese children.

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    Our Future

    Sowing for the next generation

    Exciting recent achievements and future plans:


    • The Cocoon preschool has achieved school licensing with the Ministry of Education.
    • From 2017 to 2019, we embarked on a series of renovation projects to upgrade our facilities. We now have children-friendly toilets, a new kitchen, and a beautiful new gate and driveway.
    • We plan to launch an after school care programme to continue to serve parents who work full-time and require safe and reliable childcare services.
  • Building tomorrow today

    Transforming our environment

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    Day 1: 1st August 2017

    Do you see what I see?

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    Day 13: 17th August 2017

    Building the future, block by block

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    The finished product

    Happy faces in new spaces!

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    We also upgraded our driveway and main gate...

    Work in progress, April 2018

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    All completed!

    This elevated driveway & new gate is an important part of our flood control measures.


    Life inside Cocoon

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    Cocoon Kindergarten + Nursery

    Developing Independent Learners. Nurturing Curiosity, Creativity and Intelligence.

    Age: 3 - 5 years


    Over the years, we discovered that learning difficulties our adult and youth students faced were due to a lack of proper education during their formative years.


    To address that and to meet the growing need for formal early childhood education, Cocoon has launched its Kindergarten arm. We provide an adapted Montessori-based curriculum, with areas such as 1) Practical Life 2) Languages 3) Sensorial Materials 4) Mathematics 5) Sciences and Cultural Studies.


    The distinctiveness of the Cocoon Kindergarten:

    • A multi-aged classroom
    • Bilingual (English and Tetun)
    • Children have the freedom to work independently and take care of their environment.
    • A comprehensive nutrition programme
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    Kids Club

    Language Exposure. Community Outreach
    Age: 5-9 years

    Our bi-weekly Kids Club is such a riot! Toddlers and young children have lots of fun learning together. Through story-telling, craft, games, songs and other creative activities, we socialise children to learn and play together. We hope children will catch the joy of learning together from a young age.
    We also feed these children a nutritious snack like milk, porridge, eggs and fruit to boost their nutritional status.
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    English Classes & Enrichment Activities for Children

    Capacity Building. Relationships. Sowing Values
    Age: 9-12 years

    Older children come together bi-weekly to learn practical topics like how to introduce themselves, occupations, numbers, colours etc. Every now and then, our children do project work on laptops and also learn to play the ukulele or the basics of art.
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    Youth & Adult English Classes

    Capacity Building. Relationships. Sowing Values

    Age: 13 - young adults


    Cocoon has developed three modules of lessons for older learners. Through lots of practice, games and listening, youth and young adult learners are taught the basics of English conversation.


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    Youth Club

    Social Change Leaders + Youth Conversations + Fun outings

    Age: Teens and young adults


    Young people are banding together to become agents of transformation in Dili. Our youth are trained to lead and run mobile Kids Clubs in the villages of Dili and to undertake community projects such as beach cleanups. Through practical action, today's youth are learning to devote themselves to public service. The Youth Club also serves as a platform to showcase their various talents and is a safe community to meet their social needs.


    You are always welcome to visit and be a part of our family. Every year, teams drop by to love our children, invest in our staff, serve our missionaries and simply to share life together. If you are interested, write to us at cocoon.timor@gmail.com


    Play a part in writing the history of Asia’s youngest nation. Serve alongside the first generation of Timorese leaders in a newly-independent nation. Love your neighbor Timor-Leste as yourself. We challenge you to visit and serve. Write to us at cocoon.timor@gmail.com to explore your options.


    If you would like to receive regular prayer updates, please drop us an email at cocoon.timor@gmail.com


    Cocoon depends on the generous donations of supporters to operate. We are thankful for your practical support. Every bit goes a long way, whether it is in blessing the children through the nutrition programme, or contributing towards supporting needy students who cannot pay their fees in full.


    You can send your donation via telegraphic transfer. Some Singapore banks allow for internet banking transfers to the Dili branch of our bank as well. Please indicate US dollars for the transfer. Send us an email at cocoon.timor@gmail.com so we can acknowledge your contribution and say thank you!


    PT. Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk

    Av. Presidente Nicolau Lobato

    No.12 Colmera Dili, Timor Leste


    Account name: Cocoon

    Account number: 601-00-0048050-2


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