Here at Expatgiving we love re-connecting with our volunteers so they can share their experiences with us and the Expatgiving community. We recently met up with Rima who has been volunteering at Lotus Culture for 6 months as a product designer.
Having quit the corporate world to follow my husband who had moved to Singapore, I had the opportunity to try something I had never really done before. I personally enjoy fabric and the various products that can be created from it, hence I decided to experience life from the other side! Not as a consumer but a product designer! Product designing wasn't as easy as I thought it to be...but once you get into the groove it can be quite exciting and exhilarating, especially knowing that you are part of a team that's working tirelessly to make a huge difference to the lives of sexually exploited Cambodian women.
How long have you been volunteering and what are your responsibilities?
I have been associated with Lotus Culture for about 6 months now. I joined them as a Product Designer. This entails identifying the product to be created from the given stock of fabric (these are donated by different fabric stores and design houses). The decision entails the optimum use of the fabric stock and selecting the most suitable fabric and combination of colours for a specific batch of products. Next is cut the desired fabric piece/pieces and attach detailed instructions for the girls in Cambodia to sew the product. We also brainstorm possible new additions and designs to our product range which currently includes jewellery pouches, bags, passport holders, multi-utility pouches, coasters, shoe bags, door stoppers to name a few. I have also had the opportunity to participate in setting up our sales counters in different corporate offices and hospitals during the Xmas and Chinese New Year season, selling our products to their employees and staff.
Was it your first volunteering experience? Any unique experiences in the course of carrying out your primary duties that you would like to share?
Yes this is my first volunteering role. After having worked in the corporate world for over a decade, volunteering to design and sell handmade pouches, bags has been very different and unique learning experience for me.
How did this volunteering experience benefit you?
My appreciation for handmade products and my respect for artisans has immensely increased. I believe I am more comfortable engaging with strangers (my sales role ensured that). Last but not the least it is very inspiring to witness the immense talent and dedication of the Lotus Culture founder Sylvia Lee and her team to enhance awareness of human trafficking and rebuild lives of sexually exploited women.
How do you think the expat community of Singapore can benefit from volunteering and the service expatgiving offers?
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and varied skill sets. I believe Expatgiving has a unique opportunity to link volunteers to different programs and opportunities and vise versa. It can play a key role in creating a comprehensive database of skills available within the expat community at any given time and collating the different volunteering opportunities across Singapore and APAC. Thus provide both parties a platform to connect and weave the story further to achieve their respective goals.
If you feel inspired and motivated by Rima’s experience and want to spend some time giving back to the community here in Singapore and helping the lives of others then please do get in touch with us or take a look at our current volunteering positions available:
To find out more about the work of Lotus Culture and their open positions visit: