News: Variety in volunteering

Isn’t diversity wonderful?

Trying a variety of approaches allows us to better assess the merits of any single approach.

As a small nimble organisation, Palms is able to respond to different circumstances in a way that many larger NGOs may not. In recent years, we have been nothing if not innovative, with Encounters, Reverse Immersions, Fair Trade and three-way partnerships providing examples of innovative ways to complement our core work.

As an organisation with access to Catholic networks in Australia and overseas, Palms offers effective development outcomes and volunteer support few medium-sized organisations could afford to offer.

Profiled here are three new placements which demonstrate how Palms is able to adapt and utilise its strong partnerships to continue meeting a variety of partner requests.


Carmel Lawry and Fran Hewitt, a nurse and teacher respectively, will be working with Holy Family Care Centre in Ofcolaco, South Africa. They will work with local staff to increase their capacity to properly support local orphaned and vulnerable children. The centre is run by the OLSH sisters who have previously hosted Palms’ volunteer Adriana Volona and have used Palms’ preparation courses for their own members working in South Africa.

Carmel and Fran will be supported by Palms’ Sydney staff, the strong OLSH network in Limpopo Province, Holy Family’s staff and, in case of a major incident requiring coordinated evacuation, Australian Volunteers International’s in-country officers.


Marilyn Tangey will bring over 30 years experience in education to her role with Eskola Teknika Agrikola (ETA) in Maliana in East Timor. She will build upon work done by previous Palms’ volunteer Ida Greenway, who helped the college prepare for the transition to a localised administration.

Marilyn will be supported by Palms’ Sydney staff, Palms’ Timor-Leste In-Country Coordinator Barry Hinton and her colleagues at ETA.


Fulvio Fabreschi, a financial planner, and Claire Michalanney, a nurse, will volunteer for Bushulo Health Centre near Awassa in Ethiopia. The centre provides treatment for cases of HIV/AIDS, malaria and malnutrition, in addition to major programs for obstetrics, paediatrics and emergency. The current drought in Ethiopia only places greater demands on Bushulo Health Centre.

Fulvio and Claire will be our first volunteers in Ethiopia and will play a vital role in continuing and improving the health care available to the people of Awassa region. They will be supported by Palms’ Sydney staff, the FMM sisters in Bushulo and the Catholic Dioceses of Awassa and Addis Ababa.

Unlike the Timor-Leste and South Africa placements profiled here, Fulvio and Claire’s placement will be ineligible for support under the AusAID Volunteer Fund meaning all costs must be covered by Palms and Busholo.*

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