Answering a higher calling

Volunteer Dianne Hanna
Volunteer Dianne Hanna

Diane Hanna shares her life-changing volunteering experience in East Timor helping the locals help themselves. Palms Australia is always looking for new volunteers to serve in Australia and around the world.     

Why I never regret going to Timor Leste.
Timor Leste is a beautiful country surrounded with natural beauty. I enjoy walking and living in Maliana provides me with many trails to follow sometimes taking the climb up the mountain, other times through the rice fields and other times along the water edge taking a plunge to cool off on a hot day. In the community I feel very safe to walk alone during the day and have come to know a lot more people and community groups through my regular walks. The people are very warm and welcoming.

What is best about living in community (the Palms approach)?
Through living in community I have become involved in community activities sharing in festivals and weddings, officiating soccer games and training with the players, as well as attending funerals and praying for those that have passed on.
All of this has deepened my understanding and appreciation of Timorese culture which in turn has provided me with insights that have been invaluable in working alongside the Timorese people. I also feel that the people within the community are able to better understand me which in turn builds the trust required for a cross-cultural sharing of experiences whereby I feel comfortable to communicate my perspective in a way that is culturally sensitive and the person I am interacting with can receive the information as intended and respond also knowing that they won’t be misunderstood.

How has the volunteer experience changed or enriched your life/ world view /attitudes?
Any experience has the potential to challenge and broaden a person’s views on the world and to enrich and change their attitude but the person has to be willing to be changed and enriched. A closed glass bottle tossed in the ocean will only ever float and know the surface of the ocean.
Through my experience I have come to value and become more aware of different perspectives. Working in the setting that I do, I encounter many NGOs that openly share their views on what the problems are and what needs to be done. I am very fortunate that I am able to balance these perspectives with others to benefit from their insights.

Has the experience contributed to your vocation and approach? In what ways?
In my professional work life I was required to assess a situation and make decisions quickly. Through my placement I am starting to value taking time to see and understand a situation from different perspectives because each perspective provides a different insight not possible to be seen by me alone.
For many years I worked in a job that did not respond to my spiritual growth. Working in the finance industry I did not feel it possible to have that side of my life fulfilled through the work that I did. Through my placement I have come to know another way to use the talents that I have been given while at the same time responding to God’s calling for me.
Thank you!

About Palms Australia
Since its creation in 1961, Palms has sent over 1500 volunteers to live simply and work in communities in Australia and overseas. In six decades and 39 countries, Palms volunteers have donated time valued at over $200million. Since Timor-Leste regained independence in 2001, over 80 Palms volunteers have worked with local institutions to build the capacity of the poorest of Timor Leste.

For more enquiries contact:
Kevin Wilson, Communications Officer
(02) 9560 5333
Posted By CathEd Parra at 31/07/2017 10:37:44 AM

Featured Albums

2018-08-22 Showcase Day 2
71 Items
2018-08-21 Showcase Day 1
68 Items
2018-08-20 Showcase Dress Rehearsal
41 Items
2018 Dance for Drought
More than 800 people attended Chisholm Catholic Primary School’s “Dance for Drought” on Thursday night, raising around $4000 for farming families doing it tough in Western NSW.
17 Items
Annual CCD Mass 2018
It was a great celebration of this ministry when over 400 SREs from across the Diocese joined the 300 student SREs from Catholic schools for the Annual Diocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Mass and Awards Ceremony.
37 Items
An Education Hub
With a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the school will be an educational hub for the Science Park and integrate seamlessly with the life and work of the community. Through the use of shared facilities, business-educational partnerships and collaboration on real-world problems, this ‘thinking’ school will prepare students for the STEM-focused knowledge jobs of the future. Mentoring and internships will allow students to apply their learning to real life situations and pursue tertiary and post school opportunities within and beyond the Science Park.
26 Items
2016 Teacher Awards
On Thursday 27 October, 66 leaders and staff from Catholic schools and the education office were recognised for a collective 2570 years of service and 50 years of leadership at a special ceremony at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Staff Recognition Awards were presented by Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation, Rev Christopher de Souza EV and Executive Director Greg Whitby at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta.
145 Items
2016 Principals Masterclass
The annual Principals Masterclass, which is the key professional learning experience for principals and senior leaders from the education office, was held on 20 and 21 October at Rooty Hill RSL.
13 Items
2016 Bishop of Parramatta Award for Student Excellence
The annual Bishop of Parramatta Awards for Student Excellence which recognises the religious and academic achievement of Year 12 students across the Diocese of Parramatta, were presented at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 8 September 2016.
30 Items
2016 Ready, Set…. Read! St Agnes’ Reading Relay
On Thursday 1 September 2016, Year 7 students from St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill participated in the school’s annual Reading Relay.
81 Items
2016 Way of Mercy Cross and Relics
On Monday 8 August 2016, hundreds of students, parish members and Catholic Education staff from around the diocese gathered in St Patrick’s Cathedral, North Parramatta for the official Way of Mercy launch.
26 Items
2016 Called to lead the Way of Mercy
On Monday 8 August 2016, hundreds of students, parish members and Catholic Education staff from around the diocese gathered in St Patrick’s Cathedral, North Parramatta for the official Way of Mercy launch.
52 Items
Page 1 of 14
« First    < 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  ... 
>    Last » 
Page 1 of 14
1 2  ... 

Media Enquiries

Media enquiries can be emailed to Please include your contact details, including your phone number and the deadline for your story. Alternatively call Mark Rix on 0417 442 018.

Hidden UpdatePanel, which is used to help with saving state when minimizing, moving and closing docks. This way the docks state is saved faster (no need to update the docking zones).