Despite increasing affluence in the ‘developed’ world, large numbers of people globally still live in poverty, often lacking opportunities to change their situation. Much of the aid given by wealthy nations is spent on large infrastructure projects, expatriate salaries and short-term solutions.

Volunteering with Palms Australia, by contrast, is one of the most effective and sustainable methods for reducing poverty in disadvantaged communities.

Palms Australia’s global volunteer program is unlike any other in Australia. Our volunteers stay for an average of two years, working side-by-side with local counterparts and sharing the skills that the communities themselves have identified they need. We prioritise placements in remote areas that typically don’t receive the support of larger aid organisations. These areas usually house the communities that benefit most from the capacity building our volunteers provide.

The solidarity shown by Palms Australia volunteers in living simply with their hosts allows them to more effectively share the concerns of their local counterparts, identifying with them the best methods to contribute. Our volunteers gain unique insight into another culture, as they live not at a detached distance, but immersed in the everyday lives of local people.

Unlike some of the shorter-term volunteering opportunities out there, Palms Australia volunteers spend one to three years exchanging skills with their host community, which ensures the sustainability of their work long after they return home.

Palms Australia doesn’t receive government funding, and is efficiently run by a small team in Sydney. Every dollar we receive from our generous donors goes towards placing, training, managing and supporting our volunteers.

Palms Australia volunteers are provided with accommodation, pastoral support, a basic living allowance, return travel to the receiving community and comprehensive insurance throughout their time in the field. They are also thoroughly prepared for their placement prior to departure via a 7-day Orientation Course and a correspondence program, which builds on their credentials and increases their capacity to work effectively in a new culture. Volunteers are also thoroughly supported upon their return home as they transition back into life in Australia. We provide an expert-led re-entry workshop for all returned volunteers that forms a crucial part of this process.

We’ve been recruiting, preparing, sending and supporting Australian volunteers since 1961, which makes us the longest running independent global volunteer program in the country. If you’re looking to work with a volunteer program built on genuine, mutually beneficial relationships that create sustainable change, we would love to hear from you. There really is nothing else like it.