7 May, 2018
Martin, a student from France recently spent two months volunteering with Soulcial Trust, working on our employment support programme for people with disability. Martin’s main project was the development of a commercial partnership with a Phnom Penh based NGO and social enterprise which produces jams made by people with mental disability. Martin worked with the NGO to draft a business proposal and create the sales and marketing plan for the commercialisation of the products in Siem Reap.
Studying business management in France, Martin spent about two months in Siem Reap volunteering with Soulcial Trust. Eager for an opportunity to apply what he has learnt in university and hone his English skills, Martin decided to tackle a challenging project to improve conditions for the disability community in Siem Reap.
Economic exclusion and employment discrimination are two of the most common difficulties faced by people with disabilities in Cambodia. To combat this problem, Soulcial Trust has devised an employment support programme to facilitate tailored skills training workshops as well as job opportunities. Martin was responsible for prospecting potential customers and entrepreneurs. One of his tasks was promoting jam made by people with disabilities for our partner, Action Cambodge Handicap.
‘I comprised a list of potentials clients, visiting different hotels, restaurants and bakeries to talk to customers and owners.’
After several futile attempts, he eventually convinced the sales owner at Blue Pumpkin, one of the largest bakery chains in Cambodia with 13 outlets nationwide, to use and include the jams as part of their merchandise.
‘I really enjoy the whole experience. I enjoy it a lot. I get to meet different people.’ This volunteer experience allowed him to see how people live their lives differently, widening his ways of seeing. In the near future, Martin endeavours to dedicate more time to long-term volunteer work.
‘You may at first encounter all-new challenges and difficulties whilst volunteering. But all you need to do is to stay calm and enjoy it’. That is the final piece of advice Martin gives to those who are total strangers to volunteering.
Soulcial Trust’s online platform connects volunteers with grassroots NGOs and social enterprises. If you are interested in volunteering outside of your home country to utilise your skillset to do something meaningful, not to mention impactful, browse and apply now at www.soulcialtravel.com.