Solidarity Volunteering: Strong Relationships, Mutual Development

Tsephiso’s Story

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by Carmel Lawry, Palms volunteer at Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa Tsephiso came to Holy Family at 7 years of age as she and her siblings had been neglected and abandoned. Her older sister was caring for her and her siblings, and they all suffered from malnutrition. Tsephiso’s mother was impoverished and did not […]

Back to reality… Children’s health in South Africa

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Volunteer Carmel Lawry recently returned to her placement in Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa, after a brief “break” of study, work and exams in Australia to enhance her health qualifications. She provides another update of life for the community -and the young- of Ofcolaco: I have been back in Ofcolaco for 2 weeks and […]

Rebuilding families and hopes in Ofcolaco, South Africa

Holy Family Centre in Ofcolaco, Limpopo Privince, South Africa is hosting two Palms Volunteers -Carmel Lawry, an experienced health care professional from Melbourne, and Louisa Cataldo, a passionate  teacher and musician from Sydney. Working on different ‘front lines’ both women are helping to rebuild life and hope in a region devastated by poverty, abuse, civil […]

Meet our 10 newest volunteers

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We have another wonderful group of volunteers, ready to depart for Timor-Leste, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and South Africa.

Supporting African Initiative

Fulvio and Wogeni fix a cabinet at Holy Family Care Centre, Bushulo, Ethiopia

Each field visit provides the great privilege of meeting our partners and being reminded that our volunteers are only a tiny part of a long-term development story which is driven by Africans. It is a terrific reminder of what Palms Australia is all about – supporting local initiative.

Volunteer Impacts Infographic

Click on the image above to see the full size infographic

This infographic provides an interesting insight into what a single volunteer can contribute to their hosts over 12 months.

Life is never boring

A White Rhino, one of the Big Five animals in Kruger National Park.

I start a teaching program with one of the local staff next week. Basically, I will be showing her how to look after the children’s health needs and to run the clinic. Olga has had some experience as a carer and over the next six months I hope she will gain the knowledge and experience to work in the clinic.

Variety in volunteering

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.

Orientation Course #92

Simulation exercises provide a deep insight into the challenges of working cross-culturally for development, and some useful tools. Pictured: Lawrence Chan, Fulvio Fabreschi, Ian Gray and Margaret Fogarty engage in nuanced trade negotiations.

There is something very rewarding about watching such a group interact, sharing their own expertise while working through Palms’ cross-cultural program, refined over 50 years.


To evangelise is to make the Kingdom of God present in our world … to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor. - Pope Francis (Joy of the Gospel 176, 188)