Global Educator was conceived by staff and members of Palms Australia. Since 1961 Palms Australia has facilitated our response, as church, to global communities who seek assistance to build the capacity of their organisations and individuals and so reduce poverty. We wanted a forum that would raise awareness of these requests among Australians. When developing the idea we also realised the potential to more broadly support mutual human development globally.
Palms model of development prioritizes relationships that assist to identify existing strengths on which knowledge and skills can be built. Requesting organisations often mention how the buildings, equipment and goods that others offer as aid leaves their communities more disempowered and dependent than they were prior to its introduction. Without the skills in a community to use and maintain these well-meant offerings, they are likely to lay idle and quickly depreciate.
Those accepted for assignments are thoroughly prepared and supported for mutual development with their counterparts. Their preparation and ongoing engagement also builds on the strengths developed across their lives at work and in the community generally. It’s a contemporary approach to mission that avoids patronising or paternalistic aid.
Indigenous educator and activist Lilla Watson explains it thus:
During lockdown Palms has continued working with overseas partners to refine their invitations for the particular Australians they want to engage with their communities as we emerge from isolation. With global movement being restricted for now the opportunity exists to focus on recruiting and preparing qualified and experienced Australians for the many requests from overseas communities.
We are also exploring a new partnership here in Australia with the National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island Catholic Council (NATSICC). We hope to provide a wonderful opportunity, not only for meeting their requests to develop strengths in particular fields they identify, but also to grow together in solidarity. We look forward to mutually enriching opportunities for Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians to share worlds of meaning in the deepest sense; to address relationship challenges, and so grow in understanding, acceptance and care.
We expect to have more precise roles identified in the near future. If you might be interested in a Palms assignment in Australia, or overseas from June 2021, you will need to register your interest here today. You can also register to meet Palms Participant Liz O’Sullivan and Program Partner Fr Reynaldo here on August 30.
Featured image: Palms Programs & Placements Coordinator Christine O’Halloran meeting with local Educators Fr Reynaldo, Jian, Mod and Lak at Bankhlotor, Thailand – 2019