By The Record
Brian McDonald is no flash in the pan when it comes to helping people.
The 53-year-old Willetton man has volunteered to spend the next two years in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea, donating his time and talents to the local people through the Catholic volunteering agency, Palms Australia.
With some 30 plus years of experience as an industrial electrician, working on major international projects, Brian is sure to make a big impression in the Archdiocese of Mt Hagen, where a recent boom in urban development has put major stress on housing, water, energy and sanitation resources.
Brian will also help in the training of local electricians, with the aim of improving local safety practices.
Brian arrived in PNG on 29 January and in a brief email reported that he had settled in well.
Palms Australia told The eRecord that their work with Brian is designed to have long-term for the people of Mt Hagen, and is unlike many of the short term “volun-tourism” programs that have recently gained popularity in Australia.
“Brian’s work in Papua New Guinea will help build the skills and capacity of locals over the long-term, and reduce their dependence on overseas aid,” Palms said.
“The electrical skills and knowledge Brian will transfer to locals will in turn be passed on to future apprentices and continue to improve the wellbeing of the Mt Hagen community.”
Palms Australia was founded in 1961 and works to recruit, prepare and support Australian volunteers working in partnership with overseas communities in 39 countries.
Palms estimates that its volunteers provide more than $220m of value to developing communities overseas.