Our Volunteers: Andrew and Mary volunteering in Timor-Leste

Clinica Na’l Feto Virgem Maria and Bairo Pite Hospital

The Clinica Na’l Feto Virgem Maria (Blessed Virgin Mary Clinic) is located in Railaco in Timor-Leste’s Ermera district. The district is faced with high infant and maternal mortality rates, and a high percentage of people living in poverty. The Clinic has requested a Clinic Administrator/ Clinician to work with local staff to provide sustainable health care and health education in the district.

Bairo Pite Hospital in Dili is a 50-60 bed hospital which also runs a busy out patient service and provides two mobile clinics to visit remote districts. The hospital has requested a clinical practice development trainer to work with nurses and midwives to assist to improve the standards of nursing and midwifery practice.

Andrew and Mary

Andrew and Mary on Palms' Encounter Timor-LestePalms Australia recruited Andrew Leong, a general practitioner, to fill the position with the Clinica Na’l Feto Virgem Maria, and his wife Mary Seong, a nurse/midwife, to fill the position with Bairo Pite Hospital. Andrew will also work closely with Palms volunteer Michele Keating, a registered nurse who will also work with the Blessed Virgin Mary Clinic.

Andrew and Mary, from Auckland, New Zealand, first became involved with Palms through attending a Palms Encounter to Timor-Leste in 2012.

Mary and Andrew’s expertise will be of great benefit to the people of Dili and Ermera district as they work closely with local staff to improve standards of health care. We need your help to support this important work. Please click donate and pledge a monthly contribution during their placement.


australianunity Palms Australia gratefully acknowledges the support of Australian Unity towards Mary Seong and Andrew Leong’s placements.

New faces

February 18, 2013

Mary Seong and Andrew Leong

Mary and Andrew’s married life has held a number of adventures. Their latest will be as volunteers with Bairo Pite Hospital in Dili and Virgem Maria Clinica Medico in Railaco respectively. This midwife and doctor were inspired to volunteer in Timor-Leste following their Palms Encounter last year.

Michele Keating

Michele, a registered nurse, will volunteer in Railaco splitting her time between Virgem Maria Clinica Medico and Communidade Edmund Rice’s health centre. She will work to improve primary health care and health education for rural Timorese.

Rebecca Blundell

Rebecca is volunteering as an organisational development officer for Fundacao Lafaek Diak (FLD) in Triloka, Timor-Leste. FLD provides services in health, education, agricultural skills and community empowerment. Rebecca will work with staff to build upon their program delivery skills.

Leanne Hayes

Leanne will volunteer with Balibo Community Learning Centre assisting staff and the broader community address unemployment, increase revenues for its mechanical workshop and women’s co-op and develop skills in designing, managing and evaluating development and training activities.

Glenn Mason

Glenn will build upon the work of Paul Tan with the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga. Bishop Gilles has requested Glenn work with staff to identify and develop opportunities for further improvement to effectiveness and accountability in program delivery in P.N.G.’s Western Province.

Bernadette Radford

Following the work of Peter Smyth, Bernadette will advise and provide training for staff at Divine Word University in Madang in legal issues. A firm legal footing, with regard to land, employment contracts, financial or academic matters, will allow DWU to continue providing high quality tertiary education.

Sue Ryan

An experienced science teacher from New Zealand, Sue will volunteer with Sacred Heart College in Kiribati. Sue and the local teachers will work together to establish quality education practices benefitting current and future I-Kiribati students.

Emma and Stephen Yates

After liaising with Catholic Mission, the Zambia Episcopal Conference, contacted Palms to request a Gender Justice Focus Person and a Medical Practitioner to volunteer in Lusaka. Emma and Stephen, a lawyer and doctor, have answered the call and will be joined on the journey by their two sons.

Heather Henderson

(Turn to page 12 for Heather’s story)

Palms’ 94th, my first

By the end of the course, our understanding and knowledge had risen exponentially. The bonds and commonality of participants had strengthened as well. I have no fears now about going to East Timor. I am just excited to meet all my new colleagues and friends that I will discover during my journey.

Click here to read the full article

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As Andrew and Mary's volunteer placement has ended, your donation will be placed towards the costs of sending and supporting other Palms volunteers to exchange skills with our partner communities. For more information contact Palms Australia.

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Population: 1,292,755

Area: 15,007 sq. km.

Median Age: 21.5

Literacy: 58.6 %

Languages: Tetum, Portuguese, Indonesian, about 16 indigenous languages

A brief history of independence. mid 1500s – Timor colonised by Portugal 1859 – Portugal cedes West Timor to the Dutch 1942-1945 – Japan occupies East Timor 28 November 1975 – East Timor declared independent from Portugal 7 December 1975 – invaded and occupied by Indonesia. It is estimated that 100,000 to 250,000 were killed […]

More on Timor-Leste

The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world —
all we have to do is to free them from the chains that we have put around them. - Muhammad Yunus