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Why did you choose Volunteer Platform?
I always had an interest in international cooperation ever since I was in high school. After majoring in International Relations in university, I decided to go to Ghana to volunteer. There, I worked at a local NGO, empowering women in the local community. Through everything I experienced there, I found my mission in life which was “helping those who live in a difficult situation”. I found Volunteer Platform when I was looking for a NGO where I can work to contribute towards people who are in difficult situations through international cooperation.
What are your responsibilities at work?
I am responsible for the Overseas Division, which covers various areas including contacting local organizations to seek acceptance of our participants by actually visiting local fields for research, inspection, negotiation, and so on. There are a variety of tasks that could be tough to deal with, but it is such a great happiness to see growth in the children supported by the local organizations that we are in cooperation with. Also, I am learning management skills through communication with the local staff members.
What are you careful about with clients and trade partners?
What I care about most is to listen to clients and trade partners carefully to understand them. It is very important to support them in a way that they want to be supported. So, I try to understand what their needs are in order to support them effectively.
What do you find most valuable about being in Volunteer Platform?
I can certainly feel myself growing. Dealing with a wide range of work, I can gain many kinds of skills. What I like most about VPF is that everyone has an opportunity to speak out their opinions. Learning to see myself multi-dimensionally, listening to the users’ voice on our portal website and the participants’ voices, and also seeing the children’s growth all enables me to grow.
Do you feel any development in yourself since you became a VPF staff member?
By consciously working along with the Credo and understanding the Vision made me mentally strong. This has a huge effect on me not only at work but also in my private time. I can feel myself changing every day. My growth directly relates to the growth of VPF. Actually, understanding the Credo makes me unable to make any excuses and able to think how I can work more effectively in order to maximize the contribution that VPF can provide.
Do you have any hardships at work?
Since I am responsible for the Overseas Planning section as a whole, I am in charge of a wide variety of work. Since the amount of working time is limited, I do my best to work on each task with speed and I’m careful not to make any mistakes.
How do you spend your weekends?
Reading books, watching movies, hanging out with my friends, going out with my family… I just do things as I feel.
What kind of person would you recommend VPF to?
It is essential to be interested in international cooperation. But also, it is important to face your strengths as well as your weaknesses. In VPF, you are given an opportunity to turn your weaknesses into strengths. With a multi-dimensional feedback system, we are given feedback whether it is good or bad. If you spoil or fool yourself by turning your face away from the harsh truth, it stops you from growing. This prevents VPF from growing too. However, if you are aiming at a higher level and bracing yourself by taking things positively, VPF is the place where you can expand your possibilities infinitely.
Comments for those who seek to be a member of VPF
The work such as “management” and “KAIZEN” may not seem to be a contribution at first. However, all the work that everyone does here connects to contribution. We are aiming at a high level to spread contribution in order to make the world a better place. I am looking forward to seeing people with passion towards international cooperation and ambition for growth!
MAI OTSUKA (January, 1988)
Overseas Planning & Customer Services Division
Women’s empowerment in Ghana, Japanese and English teaching in Cambodia, community support in the Philippines.
The U.S., Canada, Mexico, Ghana, Cambodia, The Philippines, Thailand, Australia.
Graduated from State University of New York at Geneseo