In May 2017, I volunteered at Child Rights Foundation in Phnom Penh. This was the first for me in Cambodia. My assignment was clearly short... 2 weeks. But I’m used to working on short-term projects. If the scope is well defined, then we can concentrate on that and have results very quickly. That’s what happened!

My daily life in Paris is quite different. I’m currently a project manager for a global insurance company. I travel a lot and work each day to make more business. When I was student, I joined different social organizations and did many types of projects to help children: I provided education to children from underprivileged areas in a local association and also coached young professionals in need of advice to evolve and foster their network in a French association. I was also involved with an NGO for 2 years. Their goal was to bring medical and educational materials to orphans and ill children. The problem is that my daily life does not permit me to be involved as I was at that time. I was looking for a solution because I really missed serving these causes.

A cause that makes sense and leads to build a better future to children. They deserve it. CRF has this precise ambition: completely focused on caring for the children in its programs and making sure they have the best futures possible. Which is why when I learned that my company offered me 2 weeks of free time to enter the volunteer program of CRF, I did not hesitate to apply! In less than 2 months, CRF accepted my application and asked me to work on the fundraising strategy. This was perfect for me because of my consulting experience in finance and marketing. CRF had a need that fit well with my competencies.

And then, the adventure started.

On the first day, I chose to visit some schools to learn more about the existing projects. Also to understand what stories are needed to tell to potential donors to attract and keep them. On these visits, the fundraising manager and I were determined to define waht has become a priority for CRF: designing a journey for new donors, and to find the best practices to reinforce the valued proposition to our major donors. My first thought was “Well, I know how to do that. I have done this many times for my previous clients. But now Leila, please keep in mind that the donor is not a typical customer. And don't forget about how ambitious I can be at times."

My mission was very interesting, even though I was not in frequent contact with children. Working for an NGO does not necessarily mean being systematically in the field. It also means understanding the back office activities and why it is so important to support those. On my side, I learned a lot about the NGO environment, the importance of donor management with a focus on the donor experience, and also the crazy life in Phnom Penh!"

Dedicating two full weeks for CRF was the opportunity to bring something new to its development program. The CRF volunteer program is quite flexible and easy to access. We need to keep in mind that priorities can evolve, and we have to adapt to that and be ready to change our direction if necessary. I became integrated with CRF very quickly thanks to a real family spirit that made me feel like I was at home! I was then very inspired by my positive mind-set, and kept it in my luggage to Paris. I was very sad saying goodbye to CRF on my last day. I hope to keep in touch and continue to help out where I can. Koy Vorn and his team have created an extraordinary organization that is enabling impoverished Cambodian children to fulfil their potential. I met talented and committed people who are deeply driven by passion. I will come back!"

I wish Koy and CRF the best of luck in the future. Thank you for letting me be a small part of an incredible team!

All the best, Leila