For the next 6 months I’ll be working as a PULSE volunteer with Save The Children in Kenya to improve the supply chain of medicines* Wow! I feel like I’m 21 again (even if I don’t look it !)
The PULSE Volunteer Partnership is GSK’s skills-based volunteering initiative. Through PULSE, motivated employees are matched to a non-profit organisation for 3 or 6 months full-time, contributing their skills to solve healthcare challenges at home and abroad. When PULSE Volunteers return to GSK, they act as catalysts to change the company for the better.
Many people have commented on what an exciting opportunity this is for me. Others have shared with me their experiences with me of Kenya and the region. I’ve been surprised just how many people have a story of visits whether on holiday, honeymoon or their own volunteering projects.
My friends daughter has just returned from her second visit to Uganda as a volunteer in 2 years, and she isn’t yet 20! She inspired me to consider what more I could be doing to make a more direct difference to improving the lives of others via the work I do.
The PULSE programme is enabling me to do just that. A new colleague related his story of spending 2 months in Kenya building a school, describing the positive effect the experience had on his life. I’ve also spoken to several others who have either completed similar PULSE projects or have their own charities, helping people in the region.
It was while relating his story that a friend told me that in Kenya, people commonly greeted each other with the interjection “Jambo!“meaning “hello!” in Swahili . Before I quite knew what was happening suddenly it appeared I had a new nickname ,”Jambo Jimbo!” , a welcome that I have been accorded on each new morning since, upon arriving in the office.
A little reminder, each day, that it won’t be long before I also start creating my own Kenyan story. I hope you’ll join me on the adventure!
*This Guardian article focuses on the work I’ll be involved with. An interview with my NGO partner and the challenges Save The Children face in Kenya.
Video – To Challenge and To Change