EU Aid Volunteers is an initiative of the European Union that brings together volunteers and organizations from different countries, providing practical support to humanitarian and development aid projects and contributing to strengthening the local capacity and resilience of disaster-affected communities. As part of this initiative five Europeans have arrived at Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) in Battambang early November. Their responsibilities across a wide range of departments will enhance Phare’s capacities to impact students. This contribution will bolster resilience and build sustainable futures for the whole community.
Evgenia (Jenny) Afentoulidou is Greek, and supports our Financial Department as a Senior Accountant. Her tasks include designing internal planning, budgeting & monitoring platform for the organization and improving payment process & system. Jenny also works on helping to identify and design an accounting system to support long term staff benefits and student scholarships system.
“Leaving home to come here I had the sense, that my experience here will be mostly to get to know a new country, and less about working hard on a project. This is a stereotype that PPS and my visionary colleagues collapsed from day one. Now, after two weeks, I feel blessed that the goal of being a volunteer is to work with the local staff for a bigger purpose for the local communities, instead of living your personal experience around the world. Alone we can bright ourselves, together we can bright the world”.
Laura Fernández Morena is Spanish. Laura is a Community Outreach and Engagement Consultant. Her main task is to develop targeted community outreach and engagement activities to create more meaningful social impacts and play a bigger role in arts & culture education, promotion and development.
“I’m very happy to be here. I felt like home from the very beginning. I’m learning a lot and I already have a lot of friends. I love my work here and what I like the most is the way they are working, their thoughts and ideas. I’m very glad for the opportunity and I’m sure already I’m not gonna be the same when I will end this experience.”
Tamás György is Hungarian. Tomi supports the Education Department as an Education Management Specialist. He works on a new project of introducing skill building classes to the curriculum, eg. English, Maths, Computer skills, Life skills. Also, Tomi will work on the feedback and assessment system, developing and introducing educational policies, and he also does a research on the possible introduction of an education/learning management system.
“So far my time in Battambang has been magical. The hospitality, patience and gentle politeness of the Cambodians are really inspiring for me, and the artwork made by the students and the circus performance literally made my jaw drop! I will do my best to help Phare as much as I can, and I promise to learn some Khmer soon, to be able to say more than Thanks a lot, How are you? And I love lizards and pangolins!”
Eva Tamara Kiss is also Hungarian. Eva works in the Development and Communication Department as Development and Communications Manager. She is responsible for event management, marketing and communications strategies, plans, and daily tasks; also strongly supports and supervises the income generating and fundraising activities. Eva works closely with the whole team.
“Cambodia is a surprisingly marvelous place in my eyes. The kindness I have experienced so far is amazing. Everyone I met and worked with are extremely helpful. Everyone helps everyone. My colleagues at PPS are even nicer if it is possible at all. And the atmosphere that is created on campus, with the smiles and laughters of hundreds of children every day makes me feel in Paradise.”
Marianne Morales is French. As an Employee Engagement Consultant, she supports the Human Resources Department. Marianne will – among other activities – work on integrating engagement concepts into working approach in order to have a stronger connection among employees.
“Since my arrival in Battambang, I have met beautiful people, living situations sometimes funny, sometimes complicated and often very rewarding. French in heart and blood, I have a special relationship with Cambodia and I cannot wait to discover more about the culture of this so welcoming country. I borrow a quote from Seneque (philosopher) that I want to share: ” it’s not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it’s because we do not dare that they are difficult ”… so dare together.”