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 […]

Atabae – Ate logo i obrigadu barack

Atabae – Ate logo i obrigadu barack los husi hau nia laran  (Atabae –See you later and I truly thank you from my heart.) by Heather Henderson As I sit to write, I hear the melodious, harmonised voices of a group of young girls walking past my house on their way to somewhere. “Ba ne’be?” […]

Running Water

In urban Australia fresh water seems so abundant we use it to flush toilets.  It is easy to forget how precious water is in the majority world. In Maliana, Timor Leste, fresh drinking/cooking water is obtained in bottles or from natural springs, yet for other purposes any running water will do. Volunteer Paul Tan reflects […]

Patience and positive change in Balibo

Balibo Community Learning Centre (CLC) in Timor Leste is based around the Australia Flag House memorial to the Balibo Five. The Learning Centre provides several services to the local community, including computer training, mechanical workshops, English classes and mentoring of rural women’s cooperatives. Leanne Hayes from Brisbane has volunteered as Institutional Development Officer at Balibo […]

The Volunteer’s New Year

Volunteer Samantha Haddin opts to stay in Dili, Timor Leste, over the holidays, finding very different celebrations as well as time to reflect and plan ahead- I spent Christmas Day at a teacher’s home celebrating her daughter’s First Holy Communion which was lovely. If not for the First Communion, I don’t think much celebrating would […]

Returning to another Home

Palms volunteer Guida Cabrita writes of the excitement in returning home for Christmas, and finds the same excitement when heading back to her host community in Dili, Timor Leste- When most people think of Christmas, they think of spending time with their family. Family is really important in Timor Leste and the extended family is […]


Friendships grow between people of different backgrounds and cultures because they meet as persons, not because they share a common heritage.
Such friendships grow because we all belong to the largest group of all, the human race. - Jean Vanier