Solidarity Volunteering: Strong Relationships, Mutual Development

Changing Expectations

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Les meeting a Mt Hagen Elder

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

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 […]

Kiribati Field Trip

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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

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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

Heather's friend Lydia with her students

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?

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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

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  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 […]

Palms’ Diamond Jubilee

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Join us for Palms Australia’s Diamond Juibilee Luncheon, to be held at the University of Technology Sydney, Broadway on Sunday 19th June. Palms Australia’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration Catch up with your Paulian and Palms family over a buffet luncheon and share anecdotes from six decades working in solidarity for justice and peace!   Details: Sunday […]

Into the Arms of Mary

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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 […]


What a terrible thing, to have lived quite comfortably, with no suffering, not getting involved in problems, quite tranquil, quite settled,
with good connections politically, economically, socially, lacking nothing, having everything. - Oscar Romero