Solidarity Volunteering: Strong Relationships, Mutual Development

The First 6 Months

OHM Training Workshop

Mark Broster, from western Sydney and well travelled, is the latest Palms volunteer working with Fundasaun Haburas Moris in Maliana, Timor Leste. Now with official NGO status, Haburas Moris is highly regarded locally as it continues to strengthen capacity and “develop life” for the rural communities of Bobonaro. Mark writes- It’s now been 6 months […]

A Day Well Spent in Mae Sot

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“The graduation ceremony for the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Diploma in Liberal Studies was held in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma Border on May 23, 2015. Professor Geraldine Castleton, Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Education at ACU gave the formal address and presented the testamurs. Others in the platform party were the […]

Meeting East Timor’s Famous Leader

Some  Atabae team members with Xanana Gusmao.  From left, Migi, 
Dianne Woo, Xanana Gusmao, Maria and Jhon.

by Dianne Woo, with photographs by Heather Henderson Xanana Gusmao, the charismatic former Prime Minister of East Timor, is a legend in his country. When Atabae’s Community Education Team, led by Palms’ volunteer, Heather Henderson, attended the opening of the historic Balibo Fort Hotel in Bobonaro Province, they were delighted to see that he was […]

Patience and positive change in Balibo

Local students visiting Balibo CLC

Balibo Community Learning Centre (CLC) in Timor Leste is based around the Australia Flag House memorial to the Balibo Five. The Learning Centre provides several services to the local community, including computer training, mechanical workshops, English classes and mentoring of rural women’s cooperatives. Leanne Hayes from Brisbane has volunteered as Institutional Development Officer at Balibo […]

Hello from Africa No.8

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It can be an uncomfortable chore for the Palms staff to request stories from our Volunteers in the Field for the Palms Post. This is never the case with volunteer Louisa Cataldo, who has provided a constant stream of stories from her placement. Here is her latest Update (No. 8!) from Holy Family Care Centre, […]

Emmaus Farm: a Smorgasbord of Memories

Emmaus Farm

Palms returnee volunteers invariably express that they received much more than they gave during their placements. This would certainly be true of recent returnee Des Hansen as he reminiscences over his experience at Emmaus Farm, his second Palms placement in Papua New Guinea.  Working with the students daily, and sometimes of an evening, was a […]

An Outer Island Experience- Marakei, Kiribati by Marlene Rasmussen

the Seawall

Wednesday 27th August dawned as a normal day, off to work for a  busy day in the office.   At a minute’s notice I caught the flight to Marakei. Sue needed my car to collect her paint; she collected the paint and dropped me off at the airport. A truck was waiting to pick me […]

Rural Health and Women’s Leadership in Lusaka, Zambia

Emma and Emma cropped

Now in the final months of their placements in Lusaka, Zambia, Emma and Stephen Yates have contributed on two fronts to the Palms Vision. Stephen, a Senior MO, gives his account of the challenges faced by a fledgling referral hospital team -including fears should the Ebola epidemic spread-  while Emma speaks of her experience assisting […]

Realising the Dream in Atabae, Timor Leste

Following independence the people of Timor Leste quickly recognised that growth in education was key to the development of their communities and nation. Almost without exception, Timorese students express an insistent determination to learn and improve their English skills as an avenue to further education and employment. Heather Henderson, a teacher from Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, […]

Change can and does occur

Monica and Anche

Returning to Baucau years after she’d finished her placement, Monica Morrison came to the conclusion that “change can move so slowly when one is in the midst of volunteering. It almost seems imperceptible, but it can and does occur. “

From Buka to Maliana

Kevin with Anaflora and Marcelino

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.

Inspiring women drive change

Kevin (rear, left) and Margaret (rear, third from left) with Mana Rince (in front of Margaret), Mana Dina (far right) and OHM staff and volunteers

OHM is the only local NGO still to be in operation in the whole of Bobonaro district. We worked diligently on submissions – not knowing if/when the project might be cancelled.

Volunteers speak from Timor-Leste

Video: Volunteers speak from Timor-Leste

In our latest Youtube video, three Palms volunteers speak about why volunteering is important and why people should volunteer with Palms Australia.

6 months in

The centre is dedicated to build capacity and develop leadership skills for the poor; to increase the independence of the vulnerable and
young unemployed men and women. And so far it is showing a positive channel with a good result in keeping the youth off the streets.


Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand. - Chinese proverb