EXPATGIVING CONNECTS Expatgiving connects expats with volunteer opportunities in Singapore and across the region. We are collaborating with more than 35 non-profit organizations that support different causes. What makes Expatgiving different is the fact that, apart from helping our adopted community by working with local non-profits, we also try to focus on what the expats need and can commit to. There are many reasons why people are willing to volunteer, but being expats ourselves, we know that there are many professionals out there who put aside their careers to ‘follow’ their partners in the expat adventure. Keeping this in mind, we try to promote skilled or leadership volunteer vacancies, that may help ‘fill the gap’ in their CVs.
INTERVIEW WITH IRENE AND SUZAN How did you get involved in Expatgiving? Why did you set it up? Irene: The idea to start Expatgiving was born while I was volunteering in Singapore. Several non-profits told me about their difficulties in reaching the expat community. I was aware of the fact that there are many men and women – like us – who want to volunteer and use their professional skills to benefit the community. Expatgiving was born as a platform that non-profits can use to tap into the expat world, and where expats can find plenty of volunteer positions in Singapore and across the region. Suzan: After working for more that 10 years as an HR professional, I wanted to have more freedom to do the things that really matter. Volunteering was one of them. I was already involved with HOME when I discovered Expatgiving. I was immediately very interested in the concept because I think it is the perfect bridge between available volunteer positions and expats that are willing to make use of their skills for a good cause. So I met Irene and we decided to work together. Can you also give a very brief background on your own expat journey, i.e. how long you’ve been in Singapore, why, what you did before? Irene: I am originally from Spain and moved to Singapore in March 2013, after living in Sydney, Munich and Madrid. After five years in different areas of Human Resources, mostly in the banking industry, I transitioned to non-profit program management in education and entrepreneurship promotion. Suzan: At the beginning of this year (2014), I moved from the Netherlands to Singapore with my family. My background is HR and I have been working as an HR professional in different areas, such as learning and development, recruitment and performance management for different (multinational) companies in the Netherlands. I founded my own coaching and training company, “Body4Mind”, reflecting my drive and exploration to help other women balance their body and mind.
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IRENE IBARRA FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR
What exactly is Expatgiving’s proposition, and what and how do you feel you can add to the voluntary sector that doesn’t exist already? Suzan: We are very keen to support small and/or not such well known local non-profits that have less visibility by sharing their volunteer positions and promoting their events. We also give them advice on how to attract volunteers based on our experience with other organisations. And we are giving expats the opportunity to find out which position and/or organisation fits best. In those individual orientation sessions we coach and give tips and advice to find a good balance in life. Can you give some examples of the types of voluntary positions you feature (this could include the charity’s details etc, to give an idea of which ones already use your service). Irene: We are working with more than 35 non-profits at the moment. For example, H.O.M.E. is looking for a Fundraising Manager, so we post this vacancy on our website and share in our social media to help them spread the word. We also receive many applications for Play Personnel at The Children’s Cancer Foundation, where volunteers provide an avenue for a child to have fun even in a hospital. Aidha offered skilled positions such as Mentors, Student Affairs Manager and IT Manager.