British volunteer helps Shenzhen organization

2012-10-09 14:49   Source:Shenzhen Daily   Author:Shenzhen Daily

After more than two decades working for British social enterprises, Christine Canham started a new career path with a Shenzhen-based organization yesterday.

The 53-year-old from Manchester has dedicated herself to volunteer development in the United Kingdom for 25 years. In the coming year, though, Canham will be a volunteer herself at Canyou, a Shenzhen social enterprise whose employees are primarily people with disabilities. She will help the organization enhance its volunteer-management system and help staff members and volunteers improve their English.

“Canham, as a professional volunteer, will help enhance and standardize our volunteer management. We really appreciate it,” he said.

Canham decided last year to do something different and adventurous, after years of professional work in Manchester.

So she applied to be a volunteer with the British organization Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). After several interviews and assessments, she was accepted as a member and was offered opportunities to work in Mongolia, Cambodia and China.

“I chose China because Canyou is similar to the organization I worked for in the United Kingdom,” Canham said. Canham worked for 10 years with the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd., a financial social enterprise that offers financial services to impoverished people. She said both organizations take on social responsibilities while making profits.

“The idea of social enterprises is that the benefits of the organization return back to the people of the organization,” Canham said, adding that her experience and skills will be helpful at Canyou.

Canham said working at Canyou will be an education for her.

“Most people at Canyou face physical challenges and social prejudices. They overcome these challenges with enormous courage. That really inspired me,” she said.

Canham arrived in China less than three weeks ago. She said she is still learning about the organization.

“The organization has a very young and vibrant management team. But I hope more experienced management people can come and work with them and help them improve management skills,” Canham said。