Making Connections

Making Connections

Palms has long understood that realising our vision of a just, sustainable, peaceful and interdependent world would require connecting communities.

This part of our mission, whether engaging parishes, schools, friendship groups, workplaces or sporting clubs can be hard work, but it is always rewarding.

Our 2004 AusAID tender bid brought together several Catholic agencies with the vision of a single program to prepare and send volunteers. When the tender was unsuccessful, these relationships remained providing stability in lean times.

Our research partnership with the University of Wollongong resulted in the first qualitative empirical study of international development volunteering, which Dr Nichole Georgeou presented to Dr Jose Ramos Horta at the Solidarity Awards dinner. This research partnership helped convince AusAID of our commitment to effective development, leading to our engagement in their Pilot Volunteer Fund.

Our long collaboration with Australian Catholic University has born fruit in many ways, including our support of their Thai-Burma border education project and providing advice on the format and structure of their new Bachelor of International Development Studies. We anticipate announcing exciting news about this partnership very soon.

In August this year, Roger and Lili attended the Catholic Health Australia conference in Perth, engaging attendees with “Palms’ purple palms” and promoting Palms Cross-Cultural’s training aimed at enhancing global competency. Catholic Health Australia comprises 75 hospitals and 550 residential care services, a great network for volunteer recruitment and education for justice at home.

Our long-standing partnerships with the various Catholic Education Offices around the country have allowed many volunteer teachers to take up a posting with Palms, secure in the knowledge that they are supported by their employers at home, receiving benefits ranging from leave without pay to ongoing superannuation contributions. We will continue to build upon this partnership by extending our Encounters and training services to teachers interested in social justice.

It is Palms Australia’s networks at home which enable us to respond to our networks abroad. The Solidarity Awards Dinner provided an opportunity to broaden our networks and ensure those already connected fully understand the importance of Palms’ work.

Supporters at the dinner were asked to consider how their networks might engage with ours, by supporting overseas communities, engaging through social media, organising a fundraising event in 2013, contacting their MP (see enclosed template) or assisting with recruitment.

To join them in making the connections necessary to keep responding to the requests of overseas communities, contact us for a CommUNITY Partner Toolkit. It’s full of ideas on how you might be able to assist.

Our Solidarity Awards Dinner would not have been possible were it not for the efforts of our Community Engagement Coordinator, Fiona Johnson. Over the past nine months, Fiona has helped raise Palms’ profile and significant social capital. We wish her well for her new role with Uniting World.