In 2000, on the first Palms’ visit to scope any post-independence expression of need in Timor Leste, it became clear that the training of teachers was paramount. Before independence few Timorese were given the opportunity to be more than teacher’s aides. Imagine a country attempting to fill great development expectations without education. This was the scenario without teachers.
It is extremely pleasing when looking back over a longer time frame to reflect on the good work that Palms has been able to do. While done on a shoestring, Palms is proud of the comprehensive service it provides to recruit, prepare, send and support volunteers. Solidarity motivates Palms’ office staff, volunteers and in-country representatives to give many hours, remunerated well below incomes they could earn elsewhere.
While more funds would assist Palms to keep meeting requests from communities and partners, we are inspired to do what we can to remain operational, when unsolicited, we receive reflective and positive gratitude. Palms has worked in partnership with the Marist Brothers to develop the Catholic Teachers College at Baucau, Timor Leste, since just after its inception. We value the following thanks:
“We are most appreciative of the fact that you have been so wonderful in supporting us with the placement of Monica. She has been a fantastic support within the overall professional development program, especially at a time when we had so many of the staff who were engaged in the completion of their Masters in Education.
You have been instrumental in enabling our staff to pursue their vision of completing their Masters in Education, and in this way assist in the important work of educational capacity building for the whole nation of East Timor and that of the Institute in particular. Palms can be very proud of being involved in such a professional development program and it will be the next generation that will reap the benefits of a fully qualified teaching staff engaged in the formation of new teachers for the country.
One can never see too far into the future, but if the need arises for another volunteer, I will certainly see if we are able to obtain such through Palms. It has been very rewarding for us to be in partnership with you with respect to the evolving educational capacity building for East Timor.
May I take this opportunity to thank you and the staff for the way we have been able to work in such a good partnership. It makes all the difference when Palms takes good care of the volunteers, and when the levels of communication are both open and honest.
Once again many thanks for who you are and the way you have been so supportive of us.
Please pass on my best wishes to Roger.
Br Fons van Rooij (fms)
Director, Catholic Teachers College
Palms acknowledges all who left the comforts of Australia to develop relationships, respond to the needs and bring us all a bit closer to the people of Timor Leste. To this point the following have assisted to develop the capacity of Catholic Teachers College and its teachers in training:
Business Management: Colin Small (03-04)
Accounts Training: Christina Etuale (03-04), Jack Dos Santos (08-09)
Teacher Training: Pollyanna Forshaw (03-04), Greg Bourne (05-06), Monica Morrison (09-10)