No stranger to volunteering, Pei Lee shares her background, experience and motivations for volunteering at EWB-Asia. As head of local programmes, Pei Lee was instrumental in the planning and execution of the the Hack-a-Toy event to be held on 7 November 2014. This event brings together volunteers to modify off-the-shelf toys to improve accessibility for children with special needs at the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) School.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am currently working in the banking sector. I implement treasury solutions for corporate clients so it’s a lot of project management and client facing skills. On a lighter note, I like nature and travelling.
How did you hear about EWB-Asia and what attracted you to join us?
I knew about EWB-Asia through a friend who is was already in the EWB-Asia executive committee. I was attracted to it because in a young volunteer-run organisation, you get to make strategic decisions, pioneer initiatives and set directions. This is in contrast to volunteering in a mature organisation with a big team of full- time staff, where you probably spend more time executing instructions. I am currently heading the local development which is a very exciting portfolio because I get to work closely with individuals/ institutions/corporates/ developmental organisations to implement programs that have a direct impact on the beneficiaries. Hack-a-Toy is our first local initiative, we have many more in the pipeline so do stay tuned!
Can you tell us about your previous volunteering experience?
I have volunteered with a few non profit organizations/ social enterprises in the past couple of years. As I was in risk management a few years back, I leveraged on my professional skill sets to provide ‘pro bono’ service to non profit organizations who do not have as much resources to hire a consultant. Also, I am currently volunteering with an organisation that caters to people with intellectual disabilities. These experiences have helped me understand their needs as well as learn how to communicate/ interact with them.
Why did you choose to volunteer for this assignment?
I have a soft spot for people with physical disabilities, especially the young ones. And this group is the target audience of Hack-a-Toy. Also, the idea is pretty novel – most people would think about buying toys for children but not many people would think of hacking toys to make them more accessible for children with special needs. In fact, these hacked toys are used by the school therapists to improve the children’s motor skills so their purpose goes beyond entertainment value.
How do you manage volunteer work with your career?
Have you heard of the “Schedule the Big Rocks, Don’t Sort Gravel” concept of planning? Essentially my big rocks include family, close friends, EWB-Asia, career hence I will always prioritize and make them for them. The gravels are Facebooking, random Internet surfing etc. Since joining EWB-Asia as an Exco member, I have slightly lesser time for the gravels but it doesn’t matter because they are not as important to begin with. Also, scheduling the big rocks helps you to focus your time and energy on what really matters most, and with focus comes perfection and excellence.