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.
I had a feeling that I had met someone rather special one day when in the staffroom one of the teachers, James Kissima, was talking to me passionately about the responsibility of teachers to do their absolute best given the sacrifice that some families make to send their students to school.
Volunteering can be both a challenging and immensely rewarding experience. Few returnees would claim to remain unchanged by the experience. Some, such as Des Hansen and Monica Morrison, value the experience so much that they return for another placement.
Kathy Brick, from Melbourne, is three months into a placement with Edmund Rice Sinon School in Arusha, Tanzania. As with schools in Australia, ERSS is valued for providing a well-rounded education to its students. Kathy is contributing through her work helping students transition into an English language learning environment.
It is unfair to expect either volunteer or host to work effectively together without preparation. Palms’ Orientation Course reflects its philosophical view that cross-cultural relationship building is at the core of sustainable development outcomes.
Of our 13 participants in January’s Orientation Course, 8 have confirmed placements which will begin in the coming months, with several others awaiting final placement details.
Eight new volunteer placements have been placed on Palms’ website, including six for Timor-Leste, one for Tanzania and one for Kiribati.
Palms Australia launched its Golden Jubilee Year, celebrating 50 years of volunteers at its recent Orientation Course in Mittagong, NSW.