Solidarity Volunteering: Strong Relationships, Mutual Development

More Growth in Bedois

After their positive experience hosting Palms volunteer teachers Guida and Sam in 2014-15, The Bedois community in Timor Leste keenly looked again to Palms when planning expansion of their Primary School programme and establishing a new Preschool. Old Palms stalwarts, the Cassidys, were just as keen to take up the invitation- Bedois Parish, Dili, Timor […]

Growing Confidence in Balibo

by Michele Rankin. Just in time for International Womens’ Day, Michele Rankin writes of busy Balibo where even traumatic memories inspire hope and positive action. And yes: Women are a driving force- My first year in Balibo has been full of adventure and happenings. Balibo is situated along the western border of Timor-Leste and although […]

The First 6 Months

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 […]

Into the Arms of Mary

Many Palms volunteers find themselves living among deeply religious communities. Especially in countries with a traumatic history, we find our partners often witness to how a deep personal and communal faith sustained them through the most extreme difficulties. It is a great privilege to share in a community’s own religious expression and rituals, as volunteers […]

Privileged to Volunteer

Now gaining momentum in placement, Philip Cranley from Woodcroft SA looks back over his first six months as volunteer in Dili, Timor Leste- Volunteering is for young people or retirees, right? They are tradespeople, builders, doctors, nurses and teachers, right? So what do you do if you are none of these things but still want […]

Kurríkulu Foun, by Sam Haddin

In Timor Leste, appreciation of education is almost universal. The population and government alike see education in all its forms as key to a brighter future. As often happens in a young nation and government emerging from a traumatic past, many systems are trialled and improved upon to find the best structure for the people’s […]

Timor Leste Visit, by Christine O’Halloran

Palms Country Program Coodinator, Christine O’Halloran recently took a field trip, visiting our volunteers and partners in Timor Leste. For the volunteer, a visit by Palms staff is often a welcome change from feelings of isolation, however good their placement. These trips provide valuable support, but also produce just as valuable feedback from our volunteers and their […]

Building new pathways, by Dianne Woo

Dianne Woo, 2 months into her placement at Atabae, pays a touching tribute to Heather Henderson who is now moving on from one Palms placement to another- It was an emotional farewell for Palms’ volunteer, Heather Henderson, when she attended the latest English language graduation ceremony in Atabae, East Timor. “Teacher Heather” has guided the […]

Reflecting on a Year in Dili, by Sam Haddin

First-time enquirers to Palms often feel a bit shocked when told our volunteer placements generally last two years. Some are dissuaded, but many will call again after considering the philosophy and effectiveness  of a long-term program. Sam  Haddin explains the importance of a far-sighted view and the crucial time forming relationships– For a little over a […]

Encounters: A commitment to action

Encounter Participants Timor-Leste 2012

Palms Encounter group visiting a women’s cooperative in Morobo, Timor-Leste, July 2012 I’m often asked why Palms runs Encounters to Timor-Leste and Kiribati. After all, Palms isn’t a travel company and the communities that we visit are often not well equipped to accommodate tourists. I absolutely agree with these two statements and strangely enough they […]


You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist. - Indira Gandhi