Feature image: Helena, Tebwebwe and Sue having been crowned at the Feast Day celebrations, Sacred Heart College, Kiribati – 2016

Since Palms began its journey in 1961, our programs and the invaluable work of our program participants have received overwhelming endorsements from communities with whom they have had the privilege to work with.  Below are some extracts of their testimonies:
South Africa

Holy Family is a very special place and needs special people to provide quality care for these most vulnerable children – many of whom have AIDS.  It requires unconditional love and acceptance – and Carmel has been blessed with this gift. Carmel Lawry [Palms Program Participant] is a remarkable person; she is everything a place like Holy Family needs in a volunteer.  She is generous and kind and cares deeply about the children here as well as children who have been reunited with their families. Carmel is tireless in her efforts to build capacity with the local staff – they really trust her and go to her for help when they need it. I am so grateful – beyond words – to PALMS, who continue to support Carmel.  She is one of the best.

Sr Sally Duigan, Limpopo, South Africa
February 2024

The presence of Mr. Jamie Drew [Palms Program Participant] with his dedication in the works given becomes a source of inspiration in the community.  He was humble, and through his words and actions, we become aware of Palms’ values, attitudes, beliefs and approach.  Staff and students have not only grown in their language skills, more importantly they have come to realize the ongoing good practices of the global exchange of skills like what Palms Australia is doing.  Jamie’s dedication and sacrifice has inspired both staff and students about the need to implement local program of sending volunteers to communities where needed.

Fr Henry Eikhlein, Pathein, Myanmar
October 2020

Philip Cranley and George Pinto [Palms Program Participants] support our staffs in improving the administrative works and in guiding our teachers especially in school subjects like Mathematic, Chemistry, and Physics. They become a role model for our staffs through their attitudes, beliefs and ideas, giving us a picture how human being should come together to make the world a better place. I think the most impacts that they have brought to the community that through their humble and availability they inspire people to help and support each other in order to see the progress in all over the world.

Fr Guilhermino, Timor-Leste
October 2020
Papua New Guinea

Those who benefitted most from their [Palms Program Participants’] maturity, past experiences and skills were the ones with whom they worked and team up with. Their presence among us were marked by dedication, hard work, sacrifices and a good spirit of partnership. When we add up all the years that the Volunteers of Palms Australia served in our community, we can indeed say that these years were moments of great blessings to all of us. Congratulation Palms Australia on the anniversary of 60 years of service to people in need.

Bishop Gilles Côté, s.m.m of Daru-Kiunga Diocese, PNG
October 2020

Samuel Samgur, counterpart with John [and Barbara] O’Dwyer, Aitape PNG
December 1991


All of them [Palms Program Participants – Helena Charlesworth served  10 years and Susan Ryan served 3 years] were very humble. Through their words and actions, I became aware of Palms values, attitudes, beliefs and approach. They really challenged me to think beyond the box in dealing with students, school tasks for improvement and in believing Mother Mary and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

It seems money does not affect their life. Even though they were paid basic living allowances, they still managed with it and never made any complaints. I was particularly inspired by the way they completed every task with dedication. I adopted her [Helena’s] approach as I wanted to follow her footsteps being fully confident they were for the betterment of the school.

Their most significant impacts on our school were:
1. Following their footsteps as in setting good examples to others
2. Giving hope to teachers to change students’ bad behavior
3. Readiness and willingness to assist in extra curricula activities
4. To be Christ-centered
5. To care for one another
6. To complete every assigned task and give extra service to others in need
7. To be humble and respectful

They were indeed an inspiration to all members of the Sacred Heart Community.

Tebwebwe, Sacred Heart College Community, Kiribati
October 2020

English teachers are always in great demand in our schools.  As most of our teachers are unqualified and have not been professionally trained, the trainings provided by Palms volunteers are invaluable!    As Palms volunteers passed on their vast teaching experiences to our teachers, they gain more confidence in their teaching career.  Most of all, the trainings given are free as the schools cannot afford otherwise.

Apart from English teaching skills, discipline and control of students are some of the valuable lessons. They encourage the development of local teachers, assist schools in providing professional teachers where needed, developing students to become responsible and lead a good Christian life. 

The most inspiring are their social attitudes where they immersed themselves in local activities like local dancing and singing.

Teekabu, Catholic Education Office, Kiribati
November 2020