Monday, 30 April 2012

The Very Small Expat World

Part of who I am includes a deep-seeded passion for giving back. It started when I was nine years old and did a craft sale with my best friend from which we gave the proceeds to Rainbow Haven a summer camp for poor kids. That passion has followed me through life and I really don’t feel complete unless I’ve got a volunteer gig underway. When I was in Dubai I started the local volunteer chapter of Room to Read with a fellow Canadian I had met at the American Women’s Association (no, there wasn’t a Canadian Women’s Association).

Naturally, after the dust settled following our move to Thailand, I set about finding the charity I would embrace as my own. After a quick Internet search I found the Phuket has Been Good to Us Foundation that does English language programs for children at a government school not far from where I live. The program started initially to serve orphans of the Tsunami but has expanded to include all students at two schools. I looked to see if any of the principals were on LinkedIn and if we had any common connections and, lo and behold, Erin Ganju, co-founder and COO of Room to Read was connected to one of the teachers at the school the foundation supported. I didn’t need any more reassurance than that and contacted the organization right away to offer my assistance. Fast forward a couple of months… I was helping out at their annual fundraiser, the Bliss Beach Ball, and selling raffle tickets when I ran into the head of Gulf 4 Good, a Dubai charity, who I had met at a Room to Read fundraiser in Dubai!

It's a very small world and once you get into the expat community it gets even smaller.  It warms my heart to see people consistently giving back and it was great to see Brian here in Phuket.

When I get back after my summer in Canada, I'll be helping out with the reading program at the school (in between copy writing clients, of course) and I'm really exited about that.

If you'd like to share any of your expat community outreach stories bring 'em on!  I'd love to hear about them.

2 comments:

linda@adventuresinexpatland.com said...

Well done Anne, giving back in some way (time, money, effort, promotion) is an important part of life. Or at least it should be. I've done a little here and there, on and offline, and will continue to do so. But I also think it's time that I dig deeper here and get more involved with something here. Thanks for planting the seed.

Anne said...

Thanks Linda! I do feel it's an important part of life and I have met some wonderful people through these events and initiatives. Anne :)