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5 dec20175

Experteering with LAFF

Cusco, PeruCusco, Peru
It was just a typical Monday morning, my last Monday at Salecycle - 3rd April - when I received an e-mail from Latin American Foundations for the Future confirming that I was accepted as a volunteer. My heart was buzzing as I had only 11 days left in the UK and my plans only included few weeks in Canada and then 3 months in Honduras. It was a perfect timing and couldn't be more happier when they also agreed to wait for me until September so that I could finish my placement in El Porvenir. 

Before I arrived I had my own doubts about what's it going to be like but in places like this you have to have positive attitude. So far every trip had its ups and downs, happy and not so happy moments, each trip also featured some mistakes on my part that I wish I could change, so when I was on my way to Cusco I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this NGO. 

I could not be more positively surprised after my first week. Despite the fact that organisation is very small and before me there was only one person on site, I was glad to find out how well the whole project is run. I was accepted to be Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator but, as I expected and hoped, my role transformed based on the need of the organisation - exactly what I needed and exactly the feeling I was looking to find again. When I started working for SaleCycle in 2011 it was unbelievably great. Working for a startup meant I had to do much more than my job description and I liked it. Under the leadership of people like Eulogio, Lisa, Jude, and Darryn I developed work ethic I carry with me to this day. Unfortunately after 3-4 years things changed and I won't get into the details why but at one point I realised that I miss the feelings I felt towards my job in those early years. 

Now I feel it again, there's a purpose, a reason, a path I see myself on and get better while walking it. Over the past three months at LAFF I've been mostly involved in Salesforce integration, G-suite implementation and other technical or data-related tasks, utilising any skill I have to the best possible way. I also started learning more about Salesforce development and administration as I noticed gap in the non-profit sector - the adoption of this CRM system is growing, espcially in the NGO sector but there is a lack of skill for small to medium-sized organisations. My plan is to bridge that gap and LAFF allows me to not only use the skills I have but also develop them further..
Team at LAFF as of 29th September
I won't go into a lot of details of what LAFF do, you can visit our site here but we help local organisations provide access to education to kids from Cusco and Sacred Valley and we also organise vocational workshops, help them with planning, funding, social enterprise - basically making sure we aid their growth, independence, and sustainability. 

We visited few of our projects already and it always makes me such a softy - seeing the help all those donations provide and smiles on kids faces - even though most of them don't want to smile when we take pictures haha
The Team making their own keyrings at Casa Mantay
On the 19th November we also helped organise a run in the middle of the city for the kids from an after-school program called Yachay Wasi
Another Team photo, this time from a visit to Azul Wasi
The next three months will be filled with even more work, data modelling, migrating old data, cleaning it, basically the best things my nerdy brain likes. To know that all this work is to help this organisation run smoother and better makes it all worthwile. It's not just about money, it's not about making profit or calculating revenue. Instead of 18h shift on Black Friday the Team doubles their efforts for Giving Tuesday and Christmas Campaign to secure funding for next year. That's what matters. People matter.
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