Our Volunteers: Melissa Martin volunteering in Timor-Leste

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Organisaun Haburas Moris

The staff of Haburas Moris
Haburas Moris is a Timorese non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to improve the lives of people in Bobonaro District in Timor-Leste.  Their comprehensive programs include priority areas of agricultural development and food security; women’s development and health; and environmental sustainability.

Haburas Moris employs 22 Timorese staff and has previously hosted Australian volunteers from two other organisations. They have indicated that having had volunteer advisors previously, they are now “looking for a person who can integrate into our organization and help build capacity from within rather than act as an advisor only”.

The managing director of Haburas Moris placed a request with Palms Australia for a Field Staff Supervisor to work with local staff in the villages, to enhance their capacity and improve their confidence in their ability to continue running their programs successfully.

Melissa Martin

Palms Australia recruited Melissa Martin to volunteer for Haburas Moris for one-two years.

Melissa has degrees in International Studies and Law and has worked in a variety of capacities for the World Bank, Anti-Poverty Week, the Global Policy Forum and UNSW.  She has particular expertise in conflict resolution and advanced interpersonal and language skills.

Melissa has previously volunteered in Sri Lanka, Australia and Thailand in roles ranging from program coordination, peer mentoring, legal services and fundraising.

Melissa’s placement costs are partially supported by AusAID’s volunteer fund, but Palms Australia needs your support to cover the remainder of the costs. Please use the donation link on the right hand side of this web-page to contribute.

A Grassroots Approach to Development

August 10, 2012

Palms staff Barry Hinton (left) and Christine (centre-right) with volunteer John Chang (centre-left), Fr Angelo (third from left), Sr Angelita (third from right) and other staff from Dili Diocese.
In Timor-Leste three-quarters of the population living below the poverty line reside in rural areas (Australia-Timor-Leste Country Strategy 2009 to 2014 p.3) Palms Australia continues to receive requests for volunteers from grass roots communities and organisations to assist build capacities across the health, education and agricultural sectors.

During a recent trip to Timor-Leste, I met with the Teachers, Principals, Community Representatives, Parish Priests and Sisters in Uatacarabau, Natarbora, and Hatubuilico where volunteers have been requested to provide mentoring and training for English and Computer teachers at the primary and secondary schools and within the wider community. Whilst the teachers that we met strive to provide a comprehensive education for their students, they are often limited by the lack of resources, infrastructure and expertise in some areas.

Having the assistance of Palms volunteers will enable opportunities for new skills to be developed, both in schools and in the wider community, providing more inclusive development opportunities for women, young people and people with disabilities.

Further requests for volunteers to assist in training and mentoring in maternal health and dental programs have come from the districts of Ermera, Baucau and in Dili city.

The communities and organisations with whom Palms works with discern and identify their own needs and priorities. In partnering together, we are able to establish a common understanding of what can be achieved and how.

This year our volunteers in Timor-Leste have been training and mentoring in Maliana (Margaret Fogarty, Marilyn Tangey and Melissa Martin), Lolotoe (Thuy Nguyen), Atabae (Margaret and David Hall, Anne Chapman, Sharon Hearns and Ian Gray), Hatubuilico (Damian Rake and Miriam Buchhorn), Baucau (Heath Thompson) and Dili (Corinne and Tim Lawther and John Chang).

Palms hopes to continue responding to and supporting communities and organisations who are determining their own needs and sourcing solutions to build their own capacity relevant to their context.


Orientation Course #92

August 29, 2011

Simulation exercises provide a deep insight into the challenges of working cross-culturally for development, and some useful tools. Pictured: Lawrence Chan, Fulvio Fabreschi, Ian Gray and Margaret Fogarty engage in nuanced trade negotiations.

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.

Click here to read the full article

Worldview with warmth

August 8, 2011

Melissa Martin will spend 12 months in East Timor as a field work supervisor for OHM. Photo: Brent McGilvary, Northern District Times

When Melissa Martin was 12 years old her parents took her on a family holiday back to their native home of Sri Lanka. Little did she know that during her visit she would witness many people living in poverty and dire circumstances, sights which led her to dedicating her life to human rights and social justice.

Click here to read the full article

Donate Online

Donating online offers you a completely secure and easy way to support our work.

Melissa Martin's placement has completed, but you can still help us provide volunteers to many other communities by using the form below.

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Recurring donations will be deducted on a regular basis, until Palms Australia or Paypal is notified to stop. Upon clicking "Donate", you will be forwarded to an external site, hosted by Paypal, to securely transmit your credit card or paypal account details. Please check the form on the next page to confirm the transaction details are correct. In this instance, Palms Australia does not handle your credit card details but will receive notification of your contact details.

As Melissa Martin'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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You can download and print a donation form and return it to us by post/fax with your cheque, money order or credit card details.

Donate by Phone

Or call us on (02) 9560 5333 to make a donation by phone. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR WORK!

Timor-Leste

timor-leste

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

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