Our long term partnership with SOS Children’s Villages wouldn’t be possible without the tireless support and commitment from our people.
This is why we wanted to give something back to our people and provide them with the opportunity to visit the SOS Children’s Village in Chipata, Zambia where we are sponsoring a house that provides a home for eight orphans, as well as wider support for the Village and remote areas which surround it.
After going through 99 applications for this trip, our CSR Committee selected Carrie Beeks, Associate Director, Talent Acquisition, Chicago, and Jeni Morrison, Finance Payroll Analyst, London, who will be flying out to visit the village and to meet the children living there in October.
Carrie and Jeni were selected based on the amount of CSR work they have done and their strong ideas for how they will support the Chipata children during their trip and beyond. Below you can see parts of their inspiring application and their reaction on winning this amazing trip.
Carrie’s Chipata Application – At a glance
Visiting the village would be an amazing experience and would give me an even deeper understanding of our impact globally with SOS Children’s Villages. This experience will also give me insight into what could be successfully applied to other projects with local SOS Children’s Villages.
While in Chipata, I want to focus on two areas. Firstly, I want to not only see the village but I want to “feel” the village by doing some hands on work while there and also speak with the children and families and hear their stories, their struggles, and how the village has helped them.
Secondly, I want to meet with the staff and leaders of the village to understand their challenges and the opportunities to provide further growth and support. I believe this will allow me to walk away with a clear picture of the good we are doing, areas where we can provide additional support and share real stories with the rest of SThree.
How Carrie reacted when she found out her application was successful
When I found out that I had been selected for the Zambia trip I was stunned and shocked! I was traveling back to our Chicago office from a business trip and I remember thinking I couldn’t wait to get back to the office and celebrate with my colleagues. I never thought I would win so for the first few minutes it didn’t sink in – but when it did, I have to say, I felt very emotional.
The news made me feel very proud of what I had achieved but more than anything, I felt a great sense of appreciation from those who had made the decision. Since learning the news, I have been researching the area and the village itself. I have been learning more about the needs of the village and the projects we are currently working on such as the e-learning program and solar panels initiative. I have also started to explore and identify areas where my fundraising could be beneficial. I am so excited to see the village, to interact with the children and for one week be a part of the village.
Jeni’s Chipata Application – At a glance
I'm very interested to see the work that is being done in the village, and how the children are benefitting from the support SThree is giving. It'll be amazing to see how our donations and fundraising efforts translate to actually making a difference in people's lives.
I'm also interested in meeting people in the local community. I travelled throughout Asia a few years ago and one of my favourite things about the experience was talking to the locals. I was often able to help in small ways when they talked about challenges they had including suggesting ways Tuk Tuk drivers could make themselves stand out from competitors to win customers, and spending time with a man who was opening the first internet cafe in his small village; we painted signs to attract customers and made posters to advertise.
Since then I've gained valuable experience in accounting and business analysis. Part of what I do best in my work is improving processes and finding better and more efficient ways of doing things. This could be beneficial to local business owners as I may be able to offer suggestions and advice regarding the running and management of their business.
Jeni’s reaction when she found out she’ll be going to Zambia
When writing my application for the Zambia trip I was excited for the opportunity to visit the village, but I never thought I would actually win! It was a complete surprise and a bit of a shock - I’m absolutely thrilled and can’t wait. I immediately started doing some research – looking up the village and the practical things we will need to do to prepare; vaccinations, visas etc.
We’ve had our first meeting to discuss what is happening in the village and how we can get involved in our time there, so it’s starting to sink in now. It’s exciting to learn about the current projects, including the e-learning program and solar panels initiative and how our fundraising efforts will go directly to these projects.