Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

Tulele Peisa and St Dominic’s Grammar School require a volunteer Early Childhood/Primary Teacher for a two-year placement. Tulele Peisa is an NGO based in Bougainville, established in 2007 to facilitate an ecologically and culturally sustainable relocation and resettlement of the Tulun/Carteret Atoll community, who are facing threats from climate change.

St Dominic’s Grammar School was established in 2015 to provide elementary education for the children of these relocated families. “Tulele Peisa” in the Halia language translates to “Sailing the waves on our own”. In the current context, it was adopted by the Carteret Council of Elders and Tulele Peisa to mean “Striving for strength and action through capacity building of our own people”.

The Location

Bougainville is an autonomous region in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The threatened Carteret Islands (also known as Carteret Atoll, Tulun or Kilinailau Islands/Atoll) are located 86 km north-east of Bougainville. Tulele Peisa has assisted the relocation of most of the Caterets’ community to Tinputz, on mainland Bougainville, approximately one hour from the nearest town, with public transport running frequently between the two centres of Buka and Arawa.

The successful candidate will be provided with accommodation 5-10 minutes walking distance from the school. The accommodation is safe and secure and includes furniture, fly screens and all crockery and cooking utensils. The organisation has internet access.

The Challenge

  • High illiteracy rates in PNG have a direct impact on people’s ability to take a full and active part in socio-economic development.
  • There is a known disparity between male and female literacy in Bougainville.
  • St Dominic’s Grammar is a new school, with limited educational resources.
  • PNG’s rich cultural and linguistic diversity poses a challenge for teachers.
  • The rural location of Tulele Peisa and St Dominic’s Grammar School means limited access to resources.

There has been a positive improvement in the number of new elementary schools established in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. However, after a 10 year civil war, Bougainville is still recovering and educational institutions are attempting to catch up with current educational pedagogy, especially in early childhood development.  Currently, three of the teachers at St Dominic’s Grammar School are Grade 10 graduates and are taking short courses in early childhood teaching. Having the ongoing support of a professional teacher will be highly beneficial.


About You

Literacy skills can be improved by providing knowledge not just to children, but to their families and teachers.  A qualified,  experienced teacher can provide this support by providing mentoring and building capacity for teachers, while working closely with the school board, parents and students. Improving literacy skills will empower individuals to make sustainable change in their community.

The volunteer must demonstrate a willingness to engage their 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:

  • increasing literacy rates of students within the school.
  • working alongside local teachers to develop the skills and knowledge that will help improve literacy throughout the area.

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. All applicants will be required to complete a Working with Children and Police Check.

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    PLEASE NOTE - Successful applicants must be:
    • available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and cannot sponsor visas to attend this course.
    • a citizen of Australia or New Zealand or an Australian or New Zealand permanent resident residing in Australia. (Australian or New Zealand citizens residing overseas may be considered on a case-by-case basis).
    • willing to complete a Police Check and a Working With Children Check before commencement of an assignment.