Palms Australia started in Sydney in 1956 as the Paulian Association. Groups formed in around 100 communities to identify local issues, reflect on values and take appropriate action to address social inequality and assist people in need.
After identifying that similar issues needed to be addressed globally, in 1961, the program was extended to communities overseas which request the placement of volunteers to assist develop health, education and other facilities. More recently Palms volunteers have been “opening our hands to the world” in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, including communities in Tanzania, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and indigenous Australia.
People cooperating across cultures in order to achieve a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world free of poverty.
Facilitate, and be open to mutual formation and inspiration, with those who volunteer to:
- Advance the awareness, enthusiasm and involvement of Australian and international communities in shared action to achieve just, sustainable, and peaceful development.
- Participate in an exchange of knowledge and skills to meet the requests of communities seeking to reduce poverty by developing the capacities of their people and organisations.
The vision and mission will be enabled where all are prepared and inspired to engage mutually enriching and challenging relationships of understanding, acceptance and care, and to share worlds of meaning in the deepest sense, with a people of a culture different from one’s own. This is how we “open our hands to the world” and achieve the solidarity described in Palms’ Values Statement.
Solidarity is the key energising value of Palms Australia. Solidarity is a principle arising out of our reflection that all living creatures are interdependent and that relationship invites responsibility and therefore solidarity.
Solidarity involves liberation of victims, oppressors and innocent bystanders, allowing all life to live to the full and is not about a vague sort of compassion or shallow distress at others’ misfortune. The more who achieve this potential in life, the greater will be the contribution of all to a common or universal good.
In valuing solidarity we value love that is lived out in respect for the dignity of all life. We value humility lived out in personal integrity and responsibility. We value justice lived out in a willingness to challenge structures that prevent collective participation in creative solutions.
The interaction of these values calls us to further values. The interface of love and humility suggests transparency. The interface of humility and justice suggests ecological sensitivity. The interface of justice and love suggests participative community building. The interface of love, humility and justice gives grace to the value of peace. Movement to such deep peace will be a movement to solidarity.