Interview with Martin, Director for Child Aid to Eastern Europe. We discuss Movemeon’s pandemic response, how ChildAid utilised free support during the crisis and what effect the pandemic has had on this Director.
In reaction to the outbreak of COVID-19, Movemeon deployed a pandemic response initiative titled, Consultants Against COVID-19 (CAC). This initiative comprises of 400+ consultants and commercial professionals providing their services for free to support any charities, public sector and other not for profit organisations in need.
45+ professionals have currently been placed with a variety of public health organisations, charities and government at the national level. If you are in need of support email firstname.lastname@example.org
“We have been fortunate enough to obtain some great pro bono strategic consultancy work thanks to Consultants Against COVID. Movemeon’s pro bono professional, Gabriella is providing us with invaluable support during the crisis.”
In your own words, please describe what ChildAid to Eastern Europe does, and how they have grown.
ChildAid to Eastern Europe help disadvantaged children in Belarus, Moldova, Siberia and Ukraine turn their lives around, through the creation of long-term partnerships with local organisations. We believe that the ongoing circumstances and endemic limitations surrounding vulnerable, abandoned and disabled children in Eastern Europe can be transformed – to one of security, opportunity and hope. Our desire is to help children turn their lives around so that they can lead normal and productive lives as adults; even with their ongoing disabilities and additional needs.
What is your current role at ChildAid and what were you doing before?
I am the Director of the charity and we have one other full-time staff member and 4 part-time staff. Prior to ChildAid, I spent 21 years as a commercial insurance broker in the City and southern region where I was a Corporate Client Director and then a Regional Director within a global broker.
What motivated you to join ChildAid, and what do you enjoy most about working there?
Having spent many years in the profit-motivated financial services sector I wanted to give something back of my time, energy, knowledge and motivation. I was particularly looking for a charity working with vulnerable children where my skills could be transferred.
The main enjoyment is to receive uplifting impact stories and notes of thanks from children and families resulting from the work and support we have been able to be part of. To see the reality of our mission to turn vulnerability, abandonment, trauma transformed to security, opportunity and hope.
On a practical level, I do enjoy having the variety that the role involves – including governance, strategy, financial management, staff management, fundraising, publicity articles, networking, public speaking, making teas and coffees for our loyal volunteers!
Movemeon’s pandemic response initiative, Consultants against COVID (CAC) supported you recently, how did our pro bono consultants help you?
We have only just connected with Gabriella, our Movemeon pro bono consultant so it is very early days, but I am excited to work with her to help us develop a new marketing strategy. This will enable the charity to continue a sustainable, impact-driven growth where new support can be developed which will be as steadfastly behind our mission as our existing core supporter base.
“It is a very exciting opportunity to support ChildAid and its mission”
– Gabriella Kovács
How has this worldwide pandemic affected you personally/your work life?
In all honesty, in no great way. I have the benefit of living close to our small office so I can cycle or drive in as needed. We have sufficient space in the office and normally no more than 3 in the office at any normal time, however, for the most part, my colleagues did elect to work from home (owing to the need to continue, even increase our support for vulnerable children in economically depressed areas, it was totally inappropriate to furlough staff).
Whilst work has been relatively unaffected, personally I merely had a holiday cancelled but did very much enjoy the uncongested roads, the peace and fresher air quality. Although the queuing into shops and banks was not (and remains not) a highlight! I never got to learn a language, play the guitar, become super-fit as many have used their downtime to do.
What are you most looking forward to doing once social distancing rules have been relaxed?
Certainly, I will look forward to far fewer digital meetings and more face to face meetings and coffee chats. Developing connections is about building deep relationships and there is only so far one can go with this across a screen, nothing beats face to face. Also, the end of queuing!
Read more inspiring stories from Movemeon’s pandemic response: Consultants against COVID-19
…and find out more about ChildAid to Eastern Europe here
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