New Season at PEPY, New Staff
In the past two months, PEPY has welcomed new staff representing six countries and a broad range of background experience, spanning such diverse areas as information technology, website development, finance, marketing, graphic design, curriculum development, and teaching.
Join us in welcoming the newest members of our team!
Maria Perez (Columbia, South America): Maria is a graphic designer from Colombia, who was introduced to PEPY when she was living in Sri Lanka and she met Daniela who had come to volunteer post-tsunami. During that meeting, Daniela told Maria about Peace Boat, where Maria currently works as a international coordinator and Maria volunteered her services as a graphic designer to PEPY, which at the time was only in the planning stages. From there a friendship and work partnership was born and, though this is Maria’s first time to Cambodia, she has been working for PEPY virtually since 2005 on everything from PEPY logos and brochures to creating PEPY’s first children’s book series. Maria spent one month in our Siem Reap office helping to design new books and marketing materials, doing some murals, and training our local staff in graphic design so they can continue her projects when she returns to work in Japan.
Katy Vidler (U.K.): Katy is from the U.K. and came to us after living and working in sunny Australia for a few years. She has been helping to lead PEPY Tours and has taken over the role of PEPY Tour Coordinator. If you email us on the PEPY Tours site, you will have the chance to speak with Katy, so start writing! After a year working in Sri Lanka as a volunteer, Katy looks forward to learning more about the NGO world and how PEPY operates. She also is a talented English teacher and, after spending three days teaching in Chanleas Dai while one of the PEPY teachers attended training, she said “these kids are the most eager students I have ever taught!”
Monkol Sok (Cambodia): Monkol is from Siem Reap, Cambodia. He’s currently studying Information Technology at BBU and is excited to work with PEPY to learn more about the NGO world. He is interested in databases and website development and has also taken on the tasks of teaching English and Computers to our other staff including Chanleas Dai teaching staff as well as our office guard/cleaning lady. Monkol’s mother has a restaurant at the end of our street, so we now have a new favorite place to get rice porridge!
Soe Thiha (Burma): Soe is from Burma, but came to Cambodia after completing his undergraduate degree in Singapore. His background is in web development, and, as we describe it, he fell out of the sky and landed on our doorstep. Just as we were saying “how are we ever going to find someone who knows Joomla well, lives in Siem Reap, and can help us get our pepyride.org website updated for an affordable cost, Soe knocks on our door saying he is looking to volunteer his time somewhere and is a Joomla expert. Fabulous! Soe has been working on designing and building PEPY’s new website as well as helping with all of our technology needs.
Rithy Thul (Cambodia): Rithy has been working with PEPY as a volunteer or staff member on many tours over the last year and it was only in the last three months that he joined our team on a more permanent basis. Rithy has helped to coordinate and translate on our Dubai Cares tours over the past few months, was responsible for learning the process of building incinerators from CRDT and installing those in Chanleas Dai, and entertaining us with his funny faces. Rithy, like his sister Thavry, is an example of an exceptional young Cambodian leader who is working to support change in his country through his time at PEPY as well as starting his own environmental initiatives in his hometown. In addition, Rithy does crazy things like cycling from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (300km+) in one day “to see if he can” and can tell you the exact date and sometimes even the time that significant events happened in his life. Just ask!
Anna Baranova (Canada): Anna hails from Russia originally, although she moved to Canada when she was a teenager. She has a background in finance and marketing and used to work for a large bank before she decided to head off with her husband Sasha to see the world. They’ve been traveling in Asia for eight months and were excited to find PEPY and to make this a memorable part of their journey. Anna is helping PEPY develop and market new tours with a focus on community-based development initiatives, including our new “Bike & Boat” tour which features cycling and a floating village homestay!
Jennie Toner (U.S.): Jennie is from the United States, but has been following PEPY’s work ever since she met Daniela on the 2004 Bicycle for Everyone’s Earth Japan ride. She remembers Daniela saying “Hmmmm… my friends and I were thinking about biking across Cambodia, but maybe we can take a BEE model and do something more than just a fun ride…” Working with PEPY in the Siem Reap office has been a key experience on her current journey around the world. With a background in organizational development, curriculum design, and education, Jennie has been managing the Classroom Library project, with the aim of bringing Khmer language books and teacher training to Cambodian schools.
Kyla Solinger (U.K.): Kyla, originally from the U.K., is a long-term Siem Reap resident who has built a career in curriculum development, teaching, and teacher training. She will be working with PEPY to enhance the Chanleas Dai educational programs for English, Computers, and Khmer literacy, and will also be working with PEPY teachers to develop their teaching skills. Her goal is to help teachers learn the skills they are looking to gain to be better teachers from classroom management techniques to lesson planning.
Sasha Feldman (Canada): Sasha was born in Uzbekistan (U.S.S.R.) but grew up in Israel and has lived in Canada since he was a teenager. He has a background in software engineering and was working for a large global firm in Canada before he and Anna took off on their adventures through Asia. He’s currently working on PEPY’s donor management system. He also was in charge of “naming” all of our office computers and, as some of our laptops are quite old and others are more reliable, the lot got names such as “Grumpy”, “Sleepy, and “Dopey”. Sasha stands by the statement that the computers were named for their own internal personalities, not those of us using them.
Sounnary Mon (Cambodia): Sonnary is from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She is currently studying at Don Bosco Training Center for Girls in Phnom Penh, specializing in secretarial studies, and has come to PEPY for her summer internship. We are delighted to have her on our team for a period of six weeks and enjoyed celebrating her 20th birthday with her this week. Happy Birthday, Sounnary, and welcome to our team!