Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

Friends and Partners with Australia [FPA] in collaboration with the local parish in Atabae, Timor Leste was established to manage their relationships with Australian groups such as Palms Australia and the former Friends & Partners with East Timor [FPET].  FPA requires a Palms participant to continue supporting the English Education Program. This position will build on the work done by previous Palms participant Madeleine Minns.

The Location

Atabae is a rural coastal subdistrict (population of 10,963) within the Bobonaro district of Timor-Leste, close to the border with West Timor (Indonesia).   The capital of Bobonaro District is Maliana, approximately 75kms [2 hours, 10 mins].  The distance between Atabae and Dili is 110kms [2 hrs, 39mins].

The Atabae community has over the years developed and maintained a very fruitful partnership with Palms Australia.  Palms has previously had program participants working in agriculture, education, community development and health.

The Challenge

Education providers in regional areas of Timor-Leste have identified foreign language skills as critical to the success of their graduates. Integrating quality language classes into the school curriculum gives students broad career possibilities in government, civil society organisations, international organisations and private sector management. Students are also able to apply for higher education opportunities overseas.

Students in these regional areas have fewer opportunities than their peers in the capital to engage with native English speakers. Attracting English speakers to these areas for a length of time that facilitates genuine language development is a challenge.

About You

The successful candidate will have:

  • Degree in TESOL and other relevant areas
  • Demonstrated working experience in teaching English as a foreign language
  • Ability to transfer knowledge/skills and confidence that builds a positive work environment
  • Personal attributes that will be vital include flexibility, patience and a sense of humour
  • Cultural sensitivity and openness to working within a different cultural context
  • Ability to live and work in a rural coastal community, with simple accommodation and foods.
  • A willingness to engage your Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role.

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:

  • Provide educational support for the existing Community English Program
  • Ensure increased educational opportunity for rural students to learn English
  • Provide mentoring of the local English teacher/s to develop confidence and localisation of skills
  • Support the priorities of the National Economic Recovery Plan


Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.