Meet some of the Globalteer teams in Peru, Cambodia and Colombia!
Globalteer has two main offices. Our Peru office in Cusco is our South American volunteer hub and is also our head office. Our office in Siem Reap, Cambodia is our Southeast Asain hub and of course where we host many of our Cambodia volunteers. We also have a permanent member of staff in Medellin, Colombia who looks after all our Colombia volunteers.
Scroll through to find out more about all the members of the wonderful Globalteer team in Peru, Colombia and Cambodia.
Jim Elliott, Founder and General Manager - Cusco, Peru
British-born Jim is the founder and General Manager of Globalteer which he set up in 2006 to help match much-needed volunteer helpers with carefully selected projects and NGOs in the developing world. Jim used money he inherited from his grandmother to set up a community project outside Siem Reap in Cambodia in 2007. Whilst Jim is still a director of the project, it is now run independently and caters for more than 250 children and their families by providing free education and access to vocational training and many social services that are not freely available in Cambodia.
In 2010 Jim and his Peruvian wife Camila founded Picaflor House, our community project outside Cusco in Peru after visiting the village of Oropesa and finding that there were no afterschool programmes for children in the area. Instead, children were often working in the village bakeries (Oropesa is famous for its bread), in the families’ fields or caring for their younger brothers and sisters. Many volunteers on Globalteer’s Peru after-school education programme are placed at Picaflor House which now has over 60 children registered.
Jim now lives most of the year in Cusco with his wife and two children, but also spends time visiting the team and our volunteers in Cambodia each year. So you may bump into him if you are volunteering at Picaflor House, and if you are in Cambodia you may find him at the Globalteer offices, enjoying a Beer Lao in one of Siem Reap’s quieter bars or supporting one of the many charity trivia quizzes in town.
Chris Bannister, Operations Director - Siem Reap, Cambodia
The US State of Arkansas has produced such household names as Maya Angelou, Bill Clinton and Johnny Cash. Well we can now add to that list of Arkansas greats the name of Chris Bannister, who joined Globalteer as Regional Manager for Latin America in November 2014 and is now based in Cambodia.
After more than 20 years in the corporate world, Chris decided to give up the rat race in 2012 and embarked on a new life of travelling and volunteering. Since he made his life-changing decision he has visited much of Latin America and spent time volunteering in Costa Rica and Guatemala. He finally made it to Peru in 2013, a trip which confirmed his love of the people and cultures of Latin America so was thrilled to be offered the chance to work for Globalteer in Cusco as our Regional Manager.
Chris is responsible for the smooth running of our operations in South East Asia and for the team that handles all volunteer applications. If you volunteer with one of our Siem Reap -based projects you will more than likely meet Chris at our cosy offices near the town centre.
Chris is a lover of the great outdoors and is excited by the myriad opportunities Cambodia offers to indulge in some hiking, biking, or running.
Candice Conrades, Marketing Strategist - Cusco, Peru
Candice Conrades first became part of the friendly Globalteer team in Cusco, Peru in January 2016 as Volunteer Development Coordinator.
Joining Globalteer all the way from Australia, Candice originally studied marketing and event management at university before becoming interested in international development.
For Candice, there were many appeals for working with Globalteer:
“I really identify and align with the vision and mission of Globalteer, and wanted to be a part of a team that is genuinely trying to make a difference. Working with local sustainable projects is definitely something that is also important to me as I believe these are most important to long-term community change.”
With this being her first time to Peru, she is loving the beautiful mountain scenery of Cusco, and is looking forward to exploring the area’s many hiking trails and trying as much food as possible (especially the baked goods and sweets!).
In 2018, Candice transitioned from being a Volunteer Development Coordinator into our Marketing Strategist, so she is working hard on a daily basis to be sure that the word gets out about Globalteer and all of our wonderful partner projects! Her role is essential, as the more people that know about and understand what Globalteer is doing, the more volunteers we can introduce to our projects, helping them make the most effective impact possible and achieve their goals!
Mercedes Rhode, Social Media Coordinator - Cusco, Peru
Mercedes is Globalteer's Social Media Coordinator. She is from Canada where she studied archaeology at Simon Fraser University. She always dreamed of travelling and living overseas.
Mercedes first arrived in Peru in September 2017 as a backpacker and volunteer; hoping to further her archaeology skills and knowledge. It has been her second home ever since. Before Peru she traveled mostly in Canada and North America; but also had the opportunity to attend a field school in Oman during the end of her university career.
Before joining Globalteer she was working as a portrait photographer in her home town. Mercedes enjoyed working with people of all ages and travelling around the city, but felt like something was missing; so she returned to Cusco shortly after Christmas.
She is excited to be apart of the Globalteer team in Cusco and the opportunity to be part of a team that makes such a difference, with projects that help and support communities that really need it. She is excited to be working with and meeting people she can relate with and who are truly passionate about the work they do.
Mercedes will be looking after Globalteer's social media presence. Additionally she will be creating video and blog content to keep you all updated with all things Globalteer. Keep an eye out for her posts and make sure to give them a like!
Genny Richard, Admin and Accounting Assistant - Lima, Peru
Genny is Globalteer’s Administration and Accounting Assistant, based in the capital city of Lima, Peru. She joined us in August 2016 and her role is finance-focused, compiling Globalteer’s accounts and carrying out various administrative tasks.
‘Before Globalteer, I was working in a corporate business environment, but I never felt quite fulfilled or as if I was in the right place. I’ve always wanted to explore and to make a difference in the world, and by working with Globalteer, I feel that I am doing that, at least in some small way! It feels great to be working for such a wonderful organisation with global connections, and with such wonderful teammates!’
Genny’s first trip to Cusco was with her university in 2010. She fell in love with Peru, and never dreamed she’d be back in a million years. However, the story went full circle after Gennys’ graduation, when she met her Peruvian husband while in Texas. They decided to make the move back to his hometown of Cusco, in January of 2016. She started her role with Globalteer there before moving to Lima in 2017. A fun fact about Genny is that she could be considered ‘Peruvian by birth!’ having been born in the small town of Peru, Indiana in the USA.
Outside of work, Genny loves salsa dancing, being out in nature, finding the best local eateries in Lima and learning more about the indigenous cultures, history, traditions, and religions of Peru.
Jess Robinson, Community Programme Coordinator - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Jess Robinson became part of the Globalteer team in February 2018 as the Cambodia Community Programme Coordinator. Joining us from England, Jess first volunteered with Globalteer at our Cambodia Community and Clean Water Projects in 2017. She explained that volunteering “turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! The experiences I had through Globalteer were life-changing, and I fell completely in love with Siem Reap.” She knew she had to return to Cambodia, and she “took the plunge” and moved there in December of 2017. And we are so glad she did! It didn’t take long for her to find her way back to us!
Jess knows our Cambodia Community Programmes inside and out, so she is a great resource if you have any questions while you are volunteering with us in Cambodia, especially since she was also a volunteer once! She has travelled through South East Asia, including to our Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary, so be sure to ask her about that as well!
If you become a volunteer in Cambodia, you may come across Jess running or doing yoga in Siem Reap, or perhaps she’ll be planning a new travel adventure! And you’ll know you’ve come across someone who loves their job. She told us, “There are so many great aspects to this job, I particularly love seeing the positive effects our programme has on the students – watching them learn and seeing their smiles brightens every day! It makes such a difference to go home at the end of the day and feel like you’ve done something really worthwhile with your time!”
Picaflor House Staff
Luz Chapi Huillca, Project Coordinator - Cusco, Peru
Luz Chapi is the Academic Coordinator at Picaflor House. With her excellent language and people skills, Luz has taught English in Peruvian schools, helped tourists learn Spanish in Cusco, worked in the USA, and has also been employed in the tourism sector.
Luz is a vital part of the team that helps run Picaflor House. She coordinates pupil attendance, teacher and volunteer activities, helps with the children’s homework and teaches various classes – just to name a few of the important things that she does!
Luz has always wanted to use her skills in a way that helps those who most need it, and this is exactly what she does at Picaflor House. Knowing that Picaflor House helps children to achieve more at school, and have more faith in themselves, provides her with more than enough motivation to help Picaflor House achieve its objectives.
If you volunteer with our Peru Community Project at Picaflor House you will be working with Luz on a daily basis.
Helping Hands Cambodia Staff
Sopheap Kong, Helping Hands Project Coordinator and English Teacher - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Sopheap is one of the success stories of Prasat Char village. Having grown up in the village, he studied English at the pagoda and a local NGO, and has been working as an English teacher at Iqbal School since 2006. He is also one of our scholarship recipients and studied TESOL at university in Siem Reap. Now being a father of a 5 year old and a new-born baby, Sopheap is loving the responsibility of supporting his own family as well as his duties taking care of his students around the village.
All of Sopheap’s hard work and commitment to Helping Hands has paid off, and in December 2017 Sopheap was promoted to Project Coordinator. He now manages the day to day activities at the school, and volunteers on our Cambodia Community Programme who are assigned to the Helping Hands project will see a lot of Sopheap.
Kong Voeun, Khmer Teacher and Community Worker, Helping Hands - Siem Reap, Cambodia
“I am a resident in this village. I work for Helping Hands Cambodia because I want to help develop my community, and want all children to have a chance to receive the English and Khmer kindergarten education. On top of that, I want to help solving the problems happening to all my students, especially family problem which is connected to education.”
MalayThong Horm (Thong), Khmer Basic & English Basic Teacher, Helping Hands - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Thong started with Helping Hands in February 2017 as a Khmer Basic and English Basic teacher. She grew up in a village by the Angkor Temples as an orphan (she has over 100 brothers and sisters!), but because her village was linked to an NGO, she had access to many beneficial opportunities. Before joining us, she studied the Bachelor of Tourism at Build Bright University in Siem Reap.
She says, “I wanted to work at an NGO to get more experience. I love the students and teaching a lot. At Helping Hands there is great teamwork – we can always ask other teachers for help with anything. I love working in the countryside; it’s more beautiful than in the city.”
Thong has also completed additional courses in Education and Community work through Helping Hands: LRTT (Limited Resources Teacher Training) and Community Care First. This means she is well-prepared for working with all of her students! But of course, she also has interests outside of teaching! Thong has a black belt in Karate and regularly goes to competitions on the weekends, and she also knows how to play tennis!
Neang Khen, English Teacher, Helping Hands Community Project - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Neang has been part of the Helping Hands team since December 2016. He is originally from another province, a few hours from Siem Reap, and he was sent by his family to study at the Bayon Temple (Angkor heritage Temple) in Siem Reap when he was about 14 years old. At the pagoda near to the Bayon Temple is where he lived and studied with the monks, and went to the primary school close to the Temple. There is where he met Sopheap (our HHC Education Coordinator) and they became good friends. Neang studied the Bachelor Degree in English Teaching at Build Bright University in Siem Reap, which made him a perfect candidate for teaching with us!
About working with Helping Hands he says, “I like the kids in the rural area and I like to help them. When I work with Helping Hands I have a chance to gain more experience and training. Everybody is open to each other. We always help each other and it is great to see how much the villagers support our school as well. I’ve also learned a lot about working with volunteers since I've worked with HHC / Globalteer. They can be very helpful in my class.”
In his first year at HHC, Neang learned a lot! He taught English Basic for the first time, and after one year he was very proud to see where his students were and what they had learned: “I am proud of myself!” And he should be!
Neang also likes cooking and often cooks during lunchtime for himself and other staff at Helping hands.
Sovanna Sao, Kindergarten Teacher, Helping Hands Community Project - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Known as Sovanna, our kindergarten teacher loves to hug people, and her natural warmth makes her the perfect person to run one of our kindergarten classes at Iqbal School. Though she has no formal teacher training, she succeeds in helping our juniors with the demands of learning the Khmer language.
As she comes from the local village and is an active role in community work, Sovanna is well known and much loved by her young students.
Rhi Rhom, Breakfast Programme Coordinator , Helping Hands Community Project - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Rhi originally started at Helping Hands as an assistant to our Gardener, but in January 2018 was promoted to the role of Breakfast Coordinator. She now manages our onsite garden where she plants, grows and harvests organic fruit, herbs and vegetables for the project's breakfast programme. She also manages the kitchen, ensuring that our students are getting the right nutrition to support their health and learning. For Rhi it is a very fulfilling role.
“I’m very happy to see the students joining our breakfast club in the early morning, in which the vegetables used in the breakfast meal are from my plantation.”
Hann, Gardener and Cook, Helping Hands Community Project - Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Hann is one of the newest members of our team. She cycles to work every day, arriving at 6am, and assists Rhi in tending to the garden and preparing breakfasts for our students. Hann also does a great job of stepping up and taking over the coordination of the Breakfast Programme when Rhi is on holiday.
Elena, our Country Manager in Medellin, Colombia is originally from St Petersburg in Russia but at heart is a bit of a nomad. She lived in London for 15 years where she studied International Business and Marketing and worked for the Financial Times no less! While living in London she made a lot of Colombian friends which is where her interest in this beautiful and underrated country first started. Whilst Elena has visited many countries on her travels, she liked Colombia best of all so decided to make it her home.
If you volunteer with our children’s project in Medellin Elena will be your number one contact. She will get in touch with you, usually by Skype, before you set off and will be there to show you the ropes and make sure your placement lives up to expectations during your time in Colombia. She also knows all the best places to hang out in your spare time in and around Medellin: “I love going out into countryside during the week-ends - Oriente Antioqueno - and in Medellin I love going with my friends. I’d recommend Mu - the best BBQ ribs and local beers place in the city, Romero – a local Italian style bar and restaurant and Pergamino, the best coffee place in the El Poblado district,” which, rather conveniently, is also where our Medellin volunteer hostel is located!