Solidarity Volunteering: Strong Relationships, Mutual Development

Going Local

John Dorton has been in placement at Kiunga, Western Province PNG, for four months now. Yes, it does seem longer, as he’s becoming very much a local. Still no photos (understandable given the technical hitches) but John paints a vivid picture all the same- Kiunga is a sort of false urban setting. It hasn’t existed […]

Trust and Development

by Veronica Chong Now nine months in Atabae, Timor-Leste, where Veronica Chong is volunteer Community Development Officer, she sees the relationships formed as crucial to meaningful development in both communities and individuals, not least herself- It is the sense of social justice that motivates me in this journey. I am currently volunteering in Atabae in […]

Changing Expectations

John Dorton, a Melbournian originally from the US, arrives in Kiunga, PNG, where he is mentoring staff of the Diocese. In a new placement one must be adaptable to changing roles, and it seems John has already come to expect the unexpected-  Not surprisingly, what was originally envisaged as my job has morphed. Not a […]

Director’s Report: Tenderness and Compassion

by Roger O’Halloran Partnership to bring “tenderness and compassion to the entire human family” Mission Month 2016 heralded the beginning of a partnership between Palms Australia and Catholic Mission, with great potential to underpin improved impacts in global mission and development.  The partnership anticipates the ongoing participation of the Australian Church in a mission that […]

Four Months In

by Clare Lourey, volunteer in Ofcolaco, South Africa- My name is Clare (or Khensani as the local staff and children now call me), I’m a primary school teacher from Sydney, Australia. Through Palms I am volunteering at Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa for twelve months. I’m currently four months into my placement and I […]

First Impressions Mukuru

by Bev Watkinson Bev, a ‘retiree’ from Brisbane, has already volunteered in China, Timor Leste and on the streets of New York; Now fulfilling a lifelong dream, she is volunteering at the Ruben Centre in Nairobi- It all started with an incredible yearning to live in Kenya….who knows maybe it was a childhood dream to […]

A Magical Time

by Helena Charlesworth Long-term volunteer at Sacred Heart High School in Tarawa, Kiribati, Helena tells of the moment her students discover new worlds -perhaps rediscovering a certain magic herself- The secondary college where I work has run a reading programme – Drop Everything And Read or DEAR – for some years now. I was given charge of […]

Hugs and Handshakes

Volunteers generally come to Palms with wide and diverse experience, before being immersed in entirely new cultures, where pre-conceptions quickly unravel. The exception to prove the rule though is Les Hartwig, who with his wife Norelle, has spent most of his life and career in Papua New Guinea. Now volunteering in Mt Hagen, he is […]

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 […]

Kiribati Field Trip

A very special part of Christine O’Halloran’s role as Palms’ Overseas Coordinator is visiting our partners and volunteers in the field. Here she sums up her recent trip to Kiribati- Over the years Palms has sent over 70 volunteers to the Pacific athol nation of Kiribati, matching requests in education, administration, health and the trades. […]

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

by Dianne Hanna Volunteer Dianne Hanna, from Sydney, reflects on just how different life is for her -but also what is most valued- a month after commencing her placement in Maliana, Timor Leste- Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or does it? Having spent over a month in East Timor I am asked, what do I miss […]

Reflections in order to look forward

by Heather Henderson I am almost 12 months into my placement here at Ruben School in Mukuru kwa Ruben. It has been an amazing journey of education for me and to my host community. This community continues to embrace my efforts to help and advise where and when I am asked. It is a mutual […]

Have you shared your belief?

Directors Report, Roger O’alloran Have you shared your belief about Palms’ Vision and Mission? Palms simply does not have the funds to meet the demand we have for the qualified and experienced Australians we send as volunteers. The demand for Palms’ approach of skill development in a spirit of mutual assistance and solidarity is very […]

Graham’s return journey

  Serial volunteer Graham Andrews flies back to Papua New Guinea for his latest Palms placement in the Diocese of Wewak. Having completed two placements in PNG, what does one expect in the Land of the Unexpected? Greetings from a hot and humid Wewak! Yes, hot and humid but not unbearable. If I thought I would […]


A partnership is not about money changing hands. A true partnership is about ideas changing minds. - Jan Vandemoortele