In January 2017, Globalteer welcomed their first corporate volunteering group - a group of 10 enthusiastic volunteers from MSD in Singapore.
The story began with Globalteer volunteer, Linda. Linda was placed at our Cambodia Community project in the summer of 2016. At the time of her placement, the project needed some assistance with getting our first aid program up and running and with her professional background in pharmacy Linda was the perfect match. While Linda was volunteering she also assisted in the classroom with English classes.
Linda was at the school for two weeks, and her experience volunteering left a lasting impression on her. ‘I enjoyed working with the local staff, but also the desire amongst the children to learn was so inspiring“, said Linda - as it is to many people.
When Linda returned to Singapore, she wanted to share her life-changing experience with er colleagues at MSD. Linda presented her experience to a group of staff within her organisation who had already shown an interest in volunteering. MSD provides staff with 40 hours of paid time off to volunteer each year. After her presentation, the group of 10 was quickly created! From there, Vincy, one of the keen volunteers, took on the responsibility of organizing and communicating with Globalteer to get the trip under way.
The group was split over 2 projects for one week within our Cambodia Community programme – three volunteers at one of our community schools outside of Siem Reap, and seven at the clean water project in Siem Reap. The group arrived on the Sunday and had their orientation on Monday morning at the Globalteer office – then it was tuk-tuks straight to the projects!
We asked the MSD volunteers what they made of their volunteering experience with us and here are some of their replies:
What did you think of Cambodia and the people?
“Cambodia is much more developed than we expected, but there is still a huge difference between Siem Reap town and rural Cambodia.
“What’s amazing about the Cambodian people is that they aim for more, but they are happy with what they have. We have built a tolerance, and we take things for granted. The people are patient, interesting, curious, happy, always cracking smiles”
“The families are so proud and thankful here – the children back at home are never happy with what they have – the Cambodian people are happy and appreciative”
What were your impressions of the projects?
“The clean water project are really good at what they do – it is so interesting delivering the filters, be involved in the whole process and see the difference you are making to these communities. Just being out in the villages it was amazing to deliver them and see them in action. It’s great to see that our little contribution in one week does have an impact and the jobs volunteers do actually really matter. It’s so wonderful to see the joy on the family’s faces. “
“At the community school, I was surprised at how courageous and bold the children were. They quickly made me learn to think more about the simpler joys in life, the children are so happy, bouncing around and so full of energy. We don’t have that sort of atmosphere or energy level back at home – the interaction with the children is just amazing.”
What does this mean for you all going back to work?
“We didn’t know much about each other before we came to Cambodia, we just knew each other over emails. We have all made friends, worked great as a team and we’re all better friends. It has been great to be a part of this group and this movement. This experience has facilitated lots of new friendships and relationships between people from different departments.”
But not only have new relationships and friendships been built, they’re hoping to make changes to their working style - “Seeing the simplicity of the build of the filters makes me want to go back to work and simplify our complicated processes.”
Is there anything else you have taken from this experience?
“My experience here has made a difference on my behavior – I have learnt not to take too much for granted, and I will encourage more people to volunteer.”
“I have realized that we can always do more, but at least we helped give the communities cleaner water and better health and life for the future. I want to introduce volunteering to my family and friends, and it makes me want to be more helpful once I get back home.”
A huge thanks from Globalteer and the project staff, children and families to everyone in the MSD group who were so enthusiastic and hard-working. Furthermore, thanks for all of the donations they made to the community school.
If you are interested in organizing a group volunteer trip abroad at the Cambodia Clean Water Project, Cambodia Community Project or indeed any of Globalteer's many projects abroad then visit our Group Volunteering page and start your adventure!