Palms Australia opens recruitment for missions

11 Feb 2021

By Contributor

Sarah Hardy with two students.
Sarah Hardy with the students of Callan services (for hearing impaired) in Papua New Guinea. Photo: Supplied.

For 60 years, Palms Australia (Palms) has been recruiting, preparing, sending, and supporting Catholics from all around Australia to fill overseas professional placements in response to international community partners’ requests.

With COVID-19 preventing the gatherings normally held to facilitate recruitment for the mission, Palms asks the entire faith community’s assistance to recruit the qualified and experienced Australians requested by partner organisations in low-income communities. 

These partners believe that the people Palms prepare and send for between one and three years provide the most effective and sustainable solutions to poverty. 

“It is difficult to be precise, but it seems we need to be ready to meet partner request and begin sending again in the second half of this year, or early 2022,” Palms Executive Director Roger O’Halloran said.

Palms thoroughly prepares and supports those recruited for mutual development and welcomes inquiries today to ensure an appropriately paced preparation.

“You can have a look on your behalf, but please also let your friends, family and others know about the many and varied opportunities,” Mr O’Halloran stated.

It is anticipated that even more requests from partners will be added in the coming months.  

With 2021 marks the 60th year of the Palms program, Mr O’Halloran also wants to highlight that living allowances and accommodation are provided in placement, return airfares, and insurance are covered for placements of two to three years, all placement requests are scoped in-situ ensuring that those sent are well integrated into appropriate roles.

Palms’ experienced staff also provide personal and professional support for all transition from inquiry through placement and returning home.

Perth resident Sarah Hardy, a registered nurse, went to Papua New Guinea from August 2007 to October 2008 as a Palms Australia volunteer with her husband Damien Beale – who works as a speech pathologist – said their experience was greatly rewarding.

Ms Hardy and Mr Beale were mentoring local medical staff and serving the Western Highlands community of Banz, as well being involved with the local community, working in the areas of education, and advocacy for people with disabilities, special educational needs and mental health issues, which had a huge gap to fill in the community.

“Like most returnees that do this sort of experience, they’ll always say that you sometimes feel a little bit self-centred in a way you’ve taken more from experience than perhaps you’ve given back, considering we were only there for a short time and in the big scheme of things,” Ms Hardy said.

“I believe we got a lot out of it. It was a privilege to be part of another community that’s not culturally my own.”

Despite the global pandemic that prevents international travels, Ms Hardy believes being a volunteer with the Palms Australia provides a learning opportunity.

“Maybe in these times of the pandemic, things that may be an incentive would be to see that the world is smaller than we think it is, that people from different cultures may be different,” Ms Hardy said.

“But we are all humans, and we all have the same fears and feelings, and you can make a difference and learn so much by meeting new people from different cultures. “I’d say go for it. It’s a rewarding and humbling experience.”

To know more about the recruitment, click here: www.