News: Become part of a Palms CommUnity Partnership

Palms CommUnity Partnerships are a unique opportunity for Australian communities to open their hands to the world.

Through a Palms CommUnity Partnership, your parish, school, workplace, family or friends can be connected to an overseas community. This connection is beneficial for all involved.

The support your group provides can assist an overseas community to meet the costs of hosting the volunteer they have requested to share skills with local people working in education, agriculture, health and administration. Staying in touch with the volunteer can help to provide personal and/or professional support. Any assistance to support a placement will ensure that skills and knowledge are left in the hands of the local community when the volunteer returns home. That means sustainable development.

As Australian CommUnity Partners you will receive regular newsletters about “your” volunteer’s progress. These will keep you informed about the work you are supporting as well as give an insight into daily life in another country. Each newsletter contains interesting information about the country and reflective questions to improve our understanding of justice, development, equality, peace, ecology and mission. Through this shared mission, your own community will share and exchange values, becoming closer and more dynamic.

The volunteer will receive new skills and a new outlook on life from his or her adoptive culture. S/he will return to Australia with a greater sense of our place in the world and assist our continuing connection, promoting good relationships and better aid. Friends and Partners with East Timor (FPET) based in The Gap parish in Brisbane have built a relationship with Atabae parish in Timor Leste. Nick Delaney explains some of the benefits his community has received:

“By working with PALMS, volunteers have been supported, which also has allowed FPET to further the relationship it has been developing with people in the western border region of East Timor.

“The volunteers have been professionally prepared and cared for by PALMS, while for FPET the real bonus is having access to PALMS wisdom to help us ensure that our projects are focused on sustainable community development. PALMS experience has helped us work effectively toward a healthy, mature and lasting relationship with the East Timorese people.

“We would recommend linking with PALMS for any group interested in direct involvement in an overseas mission to help ensure that their commitment is well directed to achieve lasting benefit for all involved.”

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A partnership is not about money changing hands. A true partnership is about ideas changing minds. - Jan Vandemoortele