Since graduating in the UK, I have lived and worked internationally – in Rome, New York, Barcelona and Amsterdam (where I currently reside), working as an interior design project manager on luxury hospitality projects throughout the world.
2014 saw the successful opening of my “baby” that I had been working on for the past 4 years in Vienna. Despite the achievement, something inside me felt unfulfilled. I realized that the uber rich lifestyle I was catering for was superficial and not the people I wanted to serve. Deep down I wanted to do something more relevant and be in contact with REAL people, with real life concerns and perspectives. I recalled the sense of satisfaction gained from my volunteering experiences during my student years when I worked with street kids in Brazil (I’m originally from Portugal so being a native speaker helped) and a few years later during a camp with disabled kids in Cuba.
In Amsterdam I use my language skills to volunteer with victims of human trafficking, a cause that is particularly close to my heart. A career change to a more socially conscious environment was therefore inevitable, yet somehow I was finding it hard to make the switch, partly due to concerns arising from my limited experience in the corporate sector.
As fate would have it, a couple of months ago I discovered that my company was in severe financial difficulty and that I would be made redundant. I immediately saw a window of opportunity to do something that I have yearned for a while – a mini sabbatical to volunteer in the developing world. The Social Starters programme caught my eye as it offers the perfect opportunity to give back whilst also receiving; by gaining skills that align with my new professional goals.
I am excited about the diversity of skill sets of my fellow consultants and what I can learn from them (and hopefully offer something in return). Moreover I have been longing for an escape from our industrialised world to a ” back to basics” experience with a contrasting set of cultural traditions, perspectives and priorities.
I am really looking forward to immersing myself as much as possible in the local culture and community and hope that India will be willing to share that with me!
Written by Alexandra Mollet.
Would you like to join us as a Trainee Social Enterprise Consultant, and work alongside grassroots social entrepreneurs in either Kenya, India or Brazil? We are currently recruiting for our next programmes, which start May 2nd, April 25th and June 20th respectively for 6 weeks each. If so, please send across your CV and a cover note explaining why you think this opportunity is for you to firstname.lastname@example.org and pop either Social Enterprise Consultant – India, Social Enterprise Consultant – Kenya or Social Enterprise Consultant – Brazil in the subject heading. See our website www.socialstarters.org for more details.