Palms Post: May 2013 Palms Post

May 2013 Palms PostWe had no difficulty finding content for our theme of “new beginnings”.

Five volunteers shared stories of their own new beginning starting their second or third placements and the new beginnings they witness in their own communities:

* Kevin Wilson, now in Maliana in Timor-Leste after a placement in Bougainville, shares insights of his early impressions
* Rosaleen Smyth, formerly a volunteer in Tanzania with Palms, explains her new role at the Thailand-Burma border
* Marilyn Tangey praises the willingness of Timorese people to learn from other cultures
* Fran is settling in well and working collaboratively with her Tanzanian counterparts in Arusha
* Thuy Nguyen shares her reasons for volunteering in the first place. Her South Africa position is her third with Palms

The Director’s Report reflects on the value of such “repeat” volunteers and Palms’ own new beginnings following AusAID’s decision not to extend the Volunteer Fund beyond its pilot.  You can also read Roger’s letter to Foreign Minister Bob Carr, challenging the wisdom of this decision.

We also have a reflection from Edith Chan on the value of Palms’ Re-entry Workshops in helping begin again in one’s home context and a call for people to become a member of Palms Australia or renew their membership.

Finally, we are calling for nominations for the 2013 Palms Australia Solidarity Awards and seeking individuals interested in a Palms Encounter to Timor-Leste or Kiribati.

Download the Complete May 2013 Palms Post (636 kB) as a PDF.

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New Beginnings

In this issue of Palms Post we celebrate some new beginnings. We have the joy of working again with people experienced in implementing Palms mission. We also need to consider how Palms will continue to encourage new beginnings in future.

A letter to Foreign Minister Bob Carr

Dear Mr Carr,

Below is an extract of a letter I received from Margaret McKinnon, AusAID’s First Assistant Director General Africa and Community Programs Division. In it she announces a decision to discontinue the Pilot Volunteer Fund (PVF) without cogent explanation.

Liberating Movement

Dr Rosaleen Smyth is currently in her second placement with Palms, having previously volunteered in Tanzania. She is now at the Thai Burma border tutoring refugees in their tertiary studies.

Membership: A clearer structure

A few small changes to our membership processes are outlined here.

From Limpopo to Arusha

Fran Hewitt recently finished her first Palms’ placement in South Africa. She is now volunteering at Edmund Rice School in Engosengiu, Arusha, Tanzania.

From Buka to Maliana

Kevin Wilson, previously volunteered with Palms in Tunaniya, Bougainville. He has now joined the team at OHM which supports people in the Bobonaro District of Timor-Leste.

Returning home

I realised that I had been given a rare chance to relive and reflect on my time in Uganda during the re-entry weekend – I did not expect to get as much out of it as I did.

Learning and teaching

Marilyn is volunteering at Instituto Profissional De Canossa, providing training in administration and English language education. This is her second placement with Palms in Timor-Leste.

Why do I volunteer?

Thuy is now volunteering with Holy Family Care Centre in South Africa, her third placement with Palms Australia, having previously volunteered in Timor-Leste.


We are calling for worthy nominations for the 2013 Solidarity Awards. Visit this page by the 5th August 2013 to make your nominations.


While reading our volunteer stories in each edition of Palms Post, have you ever wanted to just fly over and see for yourself?

The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world —
all we have to do is to free them from the chains that we have put around them. - Muhammad Yunus