Meet the 2017 Solidarity Award Winners

Meet the 2017 Solidarity Award Winners

Each year, the Palms Solidarity Awards acknowledge the special efforts of individuals, organisations or groups that have worked across cultures to achieve a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world free of poverty.

We’re delighted to announce the winners of all five awards categories.

Roy Boylan Award

Dr. Antony Faa, Senior MO, Warwick Hospital

Group at Palms Australia's 2001 Orientation Course
Antony Faa (far right) and his family at our 2001 Orientation Course.

Named after Palms Australia’s founder, the Roy Boylan Award specifically recognises a person’s long-term commitment to justice and peace at home and abroad.

Antony Faa’s first encounter with Palms Australia was in 2002, when he spent two years volunteering in Papua New Guinea with his wife, Elia and two children. Since then, he’s made some incredible contributions to Palms, including serving two terms (six years) as a director on Palms Australia’s board, with one as Chair. Antony’s continued support of Palms Australia has helped us place countless volunteers in developing communities that need their help. We are incredibly lucky to have Antony on our board, and congratulate him on this achievement.

Damian Keane Award

Zak Kaczmarek & Steve Castrisos, Lagerhaus Digital

Br Damian Keane, “the Voice of Palms”, spent many dedicated years volunteering in the Palms office, after many more years dedicated to the communities of Papua New Guinea. This award, lovingly named in his memory, specifically recognises reliably consistent voluntary commitment behind the scenes, either in the Palms office or the wider Australian community.

Notice our new, wonderfully sleek website? It wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the tireless benevolence and impressive skills of Zak Kaczmarek and Steve Castrisos of Lagerhaus Digital. Zak and Steve have cheerfully worked pro-bono to design, build and host Palms Australia’s fresh new website. They’ve also provided an incredible amount of technical support and guidance to our team along the way. We’re continuing to work with Zak, Steve and the rest of the Lagerhaus team as our digital presence grows, and look forward to sharing more of their work with you in 2018.

Cyril Hally Award

Sam Haddin & Guida Cabrita, returned volunteers

Guida Cabrita, Father Alberty and Sam Haddin in Bedois, Timor-Leste
Guida Cabrita, Father Alberty and Sam Haddin in Bedois, Timor-Leste

Fr Cyril Hally was instrumental in the preparation of volunteers from the very beginnings of the Paulian Association until his passing in 2010. His proclamation of “See, Judge, Act” remains our guiding principle when preparing those for overseas mission and development. This award, lovingly named in Fr Hally’s memory, specifically recognises those who provide assistance in the recruitment, preparation and support of Australians who volunteer internationally.

Since returning from their volunteer placements in Timor-Leste in 2015, Sam and Guida have shared in our vision of a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world free of poverty by continuing to volunteer their time and energy to supporting our work. Because of this, we decided they equally deserved to be honoured with this year’s Cyril Hally Award.

Sam, who volunteered in the remote community of Bedois while in Timor-Leste, has participated in several of our Volunteer Information Sessions to advise and support incoming volunteers. She has been instrumental in the recruitment and preparation of our Timor-Leste Encounter trips, and has even lead two of them.

Guida, who also volunteered in Bedois, has been equally instrumental in Palms Australia’s recruitment of volunteers and profile raising. Guida has passionately promoted our mission in every way possible, which has included enthusiastically participating in radio interviews, press releases and print distribution. Guida is always happy to share her experiences with budding volunteers, and has contributed greatly to many of our Volunteer Information Sessions.

We’re extremely grateful for the time and energy that Sam and Guida has shared with us, and congratulate them on their award.

Sustainable Development Through Voluntary Relationship Award

Balibo House Trust, Timor-Leste

Balibo House trust dental clinic

The Sustainable Development through Voluntary Relationship Award specifically recognises an organisation which facilitates Palms’ model of solidarity through long-term relationships of mutual sustainable development.

The Balibo House Trust honours the memories of the Balibo Five by working with the Balibo Community to enrich their lives. The Trust focusses its efforts on delivering strategic capital works and infrastructure that help to establish the foundations of a resilient local economy in Balibo, focusing on education, training and heritage-based tourism.

Balibo House Trust has been honoured with the Sustainable Development Through Voluntary Relationship Award in recognition of its ongoing commitment to supporting the rural community of Balibo. The Trust supports capacity building of local NGO staff, including those at the Balibo Community Learning Centre, where our volunteers have been working for several years. This has included the introduction of a dental health program and providing dental nurse training. Balibo House Trust has continuously supported Palms Australia volunteers, and we’re delighted to be honouring them with this award.

Community Engagement Award

Cheree Flanagan, returned volunteer

Cheree and Michael Flanagan at Ahisaun, Timor-Leste
Cheree and her husband Michael at Ahisaun in 2005

The Community Engagement Award specifically recognises a person, group or organisation that assists with the linking and engagement of community groups in support of sustainable development.

Cheree spent 2005 and 2006 helping expand the Ahisaun Foundation in Aimutin, Timor-Leste, which is pretty incredible in itself. However, it’s the incredible work Cheree has done to support Palms Australia since her return which has earnt her a Community Engagement Award. Cheree has successfully engaged her home parish in Newcastle to raise awareness and funds for Palms Australia’s volunteer program and the Ahisaun Foundation.

Cheree has also lead Encounter trips in Timor-Leste and been heavily involved in all Volunteer Information Sessions in the Hunter Valley region. Several years after returning from her volunteer placement, Cheree continues to volunteer as Palms Australia’s Information Session coordinator in the region. Her unwavering commitment to working to achieve our vision of a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world free of poverty is something we are immeasurably grateful for.

Want to join us in achieving our vision? We invite you to join us at our Solidarity Awards Celebration in June 2018, where all Solidarity Award recipients will be acknowledged and funds will be raised for our Global Volunteer placements. Make sure you like us on Facebook to keep up to date as we announce further details about this exciting event in the coming weeks.