How Australians can help in Myanmar

21 November 2017
Volunteer teacher Sam Haddin with Bedois students. Image: Supplied.

Catholic NGO Palms Australia urgently requires volunteers to support their partner communities in Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Kiribati and Kenya.

It is widely acknowledged that peace and poverty reduction comes from sustainable development and capacity building, not just handouts or short-term intervention. Long-term volunteering from skilled and highly trained individuals provides an innovative approach to sustainable development, and gives Australians an opportunity to engage in building oganisational and human capacity in the communities that need it.

On Wednesday 29 November, greater Sydney residents will have the opportunity to find out how they can make a difference overseas at Palms Australia’s Volunteer Information Session. Returned Palms Australia volunteers will be on hand to share their life-changing experience of volunteering in places like Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

Palms Australia’s Executive Director, Roger O’Halloran, who has just returned from Myanmar, will elaborate on the extraordinary opportunities to make a difference there.

“We visited the fastest growing school in Myanmar,” said Roger on Tuesday. “Coral, the principal of St John’s School heads a vibrant community of Christian, Muslim and Buddhist students, and since offering English classes their numbers have tripled. There is a strong belief that English allows opportunity, and the whole community is keen to learn from English-speaking teachers and mentors. This is the only Catholic school in Pathein but great example of inter-faith cooperation. Coral is one inspiring teacher to work with!”

Also among those presenting on Wednesday is teacher Samantha Haddin from Chippendale, who spent two years as a volunteer in Timor-Leste. Sam mentored local Timorese teachers at two primary schools operated by St Theresinha’s Parish in Bedois, an outer suburb of Dili. Her presence built confidence in innovative classroom methods beyond rote-learning and these processes have continued and grown since her return home. Sam urges other teachers to feel the same liberation she did as a volunteer in Palms Australia’s authentic long-term not-for–profit program and apply to volunteer.

“It’s not until you are in the situation, amongst the community you are working in, that a genuine understanding dawns,” Sam explained.

In any project partnered by Palms Australia, locally-owned and initiated development is the priority. Palms volunteers do not direct projects, but rather facilitate community self-help and self-reliance.

Event Details:

Palms Australia Volunteer Information Session
Where: Save the Children
Level 3, 418a Elizabeth St, Surry Hills
When:  Wed, 29 November, 5:45pm

For more information, please visit www.palms.org.au or call (02) 9560 5333.

About Palms Australia

Palms Australia has been committed to strengthening communities for over 56 years.  Since 1961, Palms Australia has recruited, prepared and supported Australian volunteers to work in partnership with overseas communities in 39 countries. Our volunteers’ work has provided over $220m of value overseas.

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