… and farewells Veronica and Celina
As part of his visit to St James’ Parish, Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell visited Palms Australia’s head office on Thursday 13th November 2008. During his visit of over an hour, he shared in a reflection, gave a blessing and discussed Palms’ work at length with the Executive Director Roger O’Halloran and Assistant Director Brendan Joyce.
Cardinal Pell shared several light moments with members of the Palms Australia team, and left a note of encouragement on the guestbook. Cardinal Pell also met with Veronica da Silva and Celina Babo from Timor-Leste. Celina and Veronica are the first participants in Palms’ ‘Reverse Immersion Program’ learning new skills and exchanging cultural experiences with St James’ Parish and staff and customers at Palms’ retail venture The Fair Trade Coffee Company in Glebe.
At the end of the visit to the office, Executive Director of Palms Australia, Roger O’Halloran presented a CD copy of Palms Volunteer Anthony Bozicevic’s piano recital as well as fair trade coffee from The Fair Trade Coffee Company to the Cardinal. In the evening, Cardinal Pell joined the Glebe Parish of St. James in a meal prepared by Celina and Veronica and staff at the The Fair Trade Coffee Company.
Palms’ Reverse Immersion Program brings East Timorese hospitality graduates to Australia to further develop their skills in hospitality and English to increase their employability in Timor-Leste’s fledgling tourism industry. It was profiled in the October 2008 Palms Post.
Celina and Veronica are graduates of the Salesian Sisters’ Vocational School for Girls in Venilale, Timor-Leste. They have now returned to the school to share their skills with current students. The girls were farewelled at a dinner held at The Fair Trade Coffee Company on Friday 14th Nov 2008.
Palms’ staff members Christine O’Halloran and Benjamin Oh will be visiting the girls and the school as part of their Field Trip. This will be a vital part of evaluating the program and extending the partnership further.