Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Paulian Association, the organisation which became Palms Australia. Speeches from Fr Cyril Hally (former chaplain, Orientation Course presenter, supporter since foundation and life member), Peter De Haas (former PALMS volunteer, Connect East Timor coordinator and ongoing supporter and collaborator) and Benjamin Oh (staff member) provided an interesting look at the effectiveness of the Paulian model of reflective action over the last 50 years and the need for continued application of Cardijn’s “See, Judge, Act” approach.
In 2011, we will mark 50 years of the PALMS programme. In this time, we have seen over 1400 volunteers recruited, prepared, sent and supported in 38 countries. Over this time, over $160million worth of experience has been donated to our partner communities. The value that has been gained by individuals involved in PALMS’ programmes is more difficult to measure, but is equally as valued. This has been possible on a shoestring budget, supported by the generous in-kind contributions of many people, both in Australia and overseas, and the broad support networks we have in the global church.
Next year, we would like to host a major event, or perhaps events in each state, to celebrate the contributions of PALMS volunteers to reducing poverty over 50 years. In organising such events, however, we will require your assistance. We hope to put together a small working group in each state that will take responsibility for organising such celebrations and selling tickets.
50 years of volunteering – as teachers, doctors, nurses, carpenters, builders, lawyers, lecturers, electricians, agriculturalists, managers, administrators, plumbers, mechanics, physiotherapists and community development workers – deserve to be celebrated.
It will be a joyous and hope-filled occasion, as we once again reflect on the past in order to inform our actions into the future. It will be even more successful if you will once more donate some of your time – this time to assist organise and publicise the events.
To register your interest, please contact Brendan Joyce.
An online map of where Palms has been involved over the past 50 years.