Not anticipating the challenges that would be posed by COVID-19, Liz O’Sullivan from Bargara set off in January this year to volunteer in Umphang, Thailand.
Liz is a former teacher from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Bundaberg and has been supported by the school community.
Following a request from Khlothor Public School to Palms Australia for an English teacher, Liz accepted a placement to provide professional skill development for local teaching staff and teach students from the Nu Po refugee camp and surrounding villages.
Even as the pandemic ripped across the globe, Liz, understanding the importance of providing professional skill development for local teaching staff and students, made the decision to stay.
In a blog, she described her concerns, including the temporary closure of the school she was working at.
“Who would’ve predicted the world would be where it is now?” she said in her blog.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic affecting just about every person globally. Seemingly everyday life is not what it was at the beginning of the year.”
“I made the decision to stay after knowing that I would be safe and well cared for here in Thailand. I was keen to complete my placement and be involved in work here in whatever capacity I could.”
“Initially, work in the outside communities was put on hold and, while things remained somewhat in limbo, I had some time to reflect on why I am here and what I can learn from my experiences.”
Since then, the school has reopened and Liz’s teaching work has resumed. Liz says she feels lucky to have the opportunity to continue her work with the community in Umphang and recognises that they generally face far greater challenges in their daily lives than she does.
Palms Australia is urging local Bundaberg residents to follow this link to send Liz a message of support via the form at the bottom of her article on the Palms Australia website.
“Liz’s greatest concern is to ensure that the work that is underway in Umphang will continue and her goals will be achieved.” said a spokesperson from Palms Australia.
“We are encouraging people from her local community to send her messages of support as it would be very meaningful for Liz to receive a personal messages from her hometown.”
While the future remains uncertain, Liz has remained positive throughoutall the changes and challenges and said she is grateful for the kindness she has received in Thailand.
“We are living in uncertain times, but we will return to some kind of normal again. For now, I challenge everyone to search for positives and embrace gratitude where you can.”
Send a message of support to Liz O'Sullivan by following the link.
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