Our Volunteers: Paul and Esther volunteering in Maliana, Timor-Leste

Diocese of Maliana

Diocese of Maliana

The Diocese of Maliana was formed in 2010 from 10 parishes in the Bobonaro District in Timor-Leste, which had previously been part of the Diocese of Dili. Maliana is the third and youngest diocese of Timor-Leste.

As a new administrative centre for the church resources, services and education, the Diocese is committed to developing its own policies, systems, procedures and infrastructure, while building the capacity and addressing the needs of the predominantly rural and youthful community it serves.

The Diocese of Maliana requested two Palms Australia volunteers to fill the positions of Financial Advisor and Organisational Development Advisor.


Organisasaun Haburas Moris

Organisasaun Haburas Moris is a Timorese (OHM) 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 volunteers from Palms and two other organisations. OHM indicated that having had volunteer advisors previously, they were 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 Financial Advisor and an Organisational Development Officer.


Esther and Paul

Paul Tan and Esther SimPalms Australia recruited Esther Sim and Paul Tan in January 2014 to fill the requests of OHM and the Diocese of Maliana.

Esther is a Chartered and Public Accountant from South Australia. She brings almost 30 years of experience in accounting and financial management to the position of Financial Advisor in both organisations.

Paul possesses a diverse skill-set, ranging from scuba and underwater photography instruction, to aircraft maintenance engineering to teaching English as a Second Language. These made him a perfect candidate as Organisational Development Officer for OHM and Advisor for the Diocese.

While Esther and Paul’s work has focused on strengthening organisational and financial processes in both placements, their presence in Maliana has been also been proving beneficial in a personal sense to themselves and the Timorese staff of both OHM  and the Diocese. In accepting the realities of life in Timor Leste, they have opened the door to cultural exchange and sharing of ideas with their hosts.

Paul and Esther have volunteered many times previously, in Adelaide, Singapore and with Palms in Papua New Guinea.  In assisting two key Timorese organisations, they are making a tremendous difference for the people of Maliana.

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Paul and Esther'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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As Paul and Esther'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

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. - Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe