A Christmas Message From the Executive Director

A Christmas Message From the Executive Director

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again. Along with the excitement, chaos, over-commitment and over-indulging that the end of year brings, there’s a peacefulness in the opportunity to reflect on the year that was. This Christmas, I’ll be reflecting on the work that Palms Australia has achieved through the generosity of our supporters.

In our last Annual Report, we highlighted local programs where the support of our qualified and experienced volunteers was offered to remote communities in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Samoa, Thailand, Kenya and South Africa this year. The combined efforts of our volunteers equated to over $1.5m worth of expertise, 365 days of primary health services, 3054 days of education, and 2646 days of training and mentoring in administration, trades & agriculture.

However, we can’t continue this work without your support. Your support allows us to continue our mission of empowering developing communities to achieve just, sustainable, and peaceful development. This Christmas, I encourage you to give the gift of a volunteer.

It is the gift of a skilled and thoroughly prepared volunteer that helps a community to achieve their goals. They also offer so much more than what a regular paid employee gives in their work hours. In the words of Antony Gittens, the “… priceless gift a stranger can bring to a needy community is the moral gift of solidarity.”

Unlike many of the short-term ‘voluntourism’ programs that have gained notoriety in 2017, our volunteers have made a real and lasting difference in their communities. They work over the long term to build relationships, which enables them to then build the capacity of organisations and their people. Developing this capacity builds the resilience these communities need to deal with climate change, temper civil unrest, or even mitigate the impact of disasters. Rather than create the dependence that simple monetary aid often creates, your donation to Palms Australia helps create change.

Unlike mass-produced knick-knacks, unflattering socks and coffee-table books that we never get around to reading, the gift of the volunteer is sustainable, effective and incredibly powerful in the fight against poverty. A donation of just $47 provides a day’s worth of mentoring to local teachers in Timor-Leste. That’s less than the cost of a Christmas ham! Imagine the impact we could have on our partner communities in 2018 if all of our supporters donated just $47 this Christmas.

I encourage you to read about four remarkable projects our volunteers are working on in Kiribati, Timor-Leste, Samoa and Papua New Guinea during 2018. You can make one of these volunteers your gift this Christmas by making a donation as an individual, as a shared gift from family or friends, or on behalf of your workplace or community group.

Just, sustainable, and peaceful development is not achievable without the generosity of people like you.

Have a safe and peaceful Christmas,

Roger O’Halloran, Executive Director