Solidarity Volunteering: Strong Relationships, Mutual Development

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.

Bushulo Health Centre

Adelaide nurse and administrator Claire Michalanney with Dr Ayelew, Acting Medical Director at Bushulo Health Centre.

The Safe Motherhood outreach program has reduced the number of maternal deaths in the villages. My role has been to help improve the quality of nursing care in the hospital, assist with the management of pharmaceutical supplies and to provide support for the Administrator in the management of this complex range of services.

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.


I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. - Stephen Krebbet