My deep passion and curiosity for exploring other cultures led me to find work in the telecommunication and higher education sector in the UK, Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. After making my mark in an eight year period in the Middle East, I moved with my husband to Cambodia in 2015 for a new adventure and to make a home in a country that was so warm and open, even on the mend from years of civil conflict and genocide. I didn’t move here to be a ‘savior’ as many expats hope to be when they come to this country, but because I was curious and passionate about helping people realize their potential and coaching them to flourish through professional development.
Through chance, I met Journeys Within Our Community, an education Non-Governmental Organization that helps empower the local community through educational opportunities. I then joined the board and began to offer pro-bono mentoring to the staff and helped in crafting a distinct mission and direction during a transitional period.
A year ago, I was appointed interim Executive Director of Cambodian Community Dream Organization, a non profit whose mission is to improve living conditions in villages surrounding Siem Reap, and amongst a broad variety of duties I was able to work closely with and manage volunteers. This was enjoyable to me not only because I helped place skilled volunteers in relevant positions, but it also allowed me to see how important it is for volunteers to train and develop local employees rather than replacing them altogether.
Living and working in Cambodia made me realize that one-off volunteering was not sustainable and ultimately did not contribute to any real lasting impact, no matter how willing or well-intentioned a person is to contribute.
With this in mind, I have decided to fund Professionals Doing Good, a social enterprise here in Siem Reap. Professionals Doing Good is based on the belief and principle that by developing socially conscious organizations in this country through meaningful and professional volunteer work, we can make a greater impact on the community.
By matching skilled volunteers with responsible organizations they can invest their time and service into improving the organization through empowering staff and fostering professional development. As a board member of an education NGO in Cambodia and a professional volunteer myself, I know what it takes to make a genuine impact in an ethically responsible way.
My hope is by harnessing the expertise of qualified volunteers that I recruit, I can make sure there is a thoughtful exchange of knowledge between the volunteers, staff and beneficiaries, so that after the volunteer leaves, the organization is left better because of it.
Professionals doing good began officially operating in August and I’m thrilled to turn my passion of connecting the right people for the job into truly making a difference in the local community in a respectful and sustainable way. This is integral to the work I am trying to achieve because when volunteers depart the staff should have increased capacity and be enabled with more skills to thrive in their positions.
Interested in professionally volunteering in Cambodia?
There’s a project right for you, come and explore.