Dr Nichole Georgeou recently received her doctorate following the completion of her research at the University of Wollongong, in partnership with Palms Australia.
More than 30 years ago I gave up my job with top-rating radio station 2SM to run a newspaper in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
After 50 years of humble service, Palms finally decided it was time to blow our own trumpet. Usually, we get access to a parish here or a school there at the discretion of the local priest or principal and the patience of people who sometimes, understandably, feel fatigued.
Tapping into the talents and capacities of the young people not only shows what people with a disability can do, it also increases each member’s sense of pride in community and personal contributions.
As a small nimble organisation, Palms is able to respond to different circumstances in a way that many larger NGOs may not. In recent years, we have been nothing if not innovative, with Encounters, Reverse Immersions, Fair Trade and three-way partnerships providing examples of innovative ways to complement our core work.
Seeing the assignment locations and meeting the partners firsthand allows Palms’ staff to make some difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising one placement over another when faced with limited numbers of volunteers or limited funds required to send them.
There is something very rewarding about watching such a group interact, sharing their own expertise while working through Palms’ cross-cultural program, refined over 50 years.
While it came with conditions – 1-year maximum placements, enhanced security procedures- and no guarantee of further funding, finally we could concentrate on recruiting volunteers without stressing as much about funds …for now …sort of.
On the weekend I was fortunate enough to meet Jose Ramos Horta [Timor-Leste’s President] and Kevin Rudd and the Australian ambassador, Miles Armitage.
Our call for people to renew or begin their membership was the first step in trying to get active members, who participate in setting Palms’ Strategic Direction which influences all that we do.
This year offers great opportunities for participation and we hope you can take part in two more major events this year (non-members are also most welcome).
Many who know of Palms’ already wide-ranging risk management documentation and the comprehensive preparation of volunteers might ask, as I did, what could possibly be added?