It's Maya Greet Verbist's turn, Planète Enfants & Développement's Nepal Director, to take part in our portrait of the month. Meeting with the most Nepalese of Belgians!
Maya, but who are you?
I have to tell you: everyone calls me Maya, but in fact, my first name is Greet! I am originally from Belgium and I have been living in Nepal for 25 years. When I arrived in the country as a volunteer, after studying civil engineering, my friends renamed me because my first name was too difficult to pronounce! I didn't plan to stay here very long but I met my husband here...
At the time of the Nepal earthquakes in 2015, I was involved in different relief projects. Then I worked as a Nepal representative in a small Dutch NGO before joining Planète Enfants & Développement in December 2020.
What is your daily work?
I propose projects and ensure, with my small team, that the activities are well implemented and that budgets are respected. In particular, I provide support to our local partner organizations working on our projects. I also take care of the communication between the teams in Nepal, the partners and the headquarters in France. I provide information for fundraising and reporting purposes.
I like to go out and talk to the people we support. Talking with teachers, local government officials, children, families, about their lives, their needs and solutions to overcome their problems.
Why did you choose this job and what motivates you?
I don't know if I chose this work or if it was the work that found me. After the earthquakes in 2015, getting involved in projects for the Nepalese was a way for me to overcome the trauma. I also feel that being a "foreigner" is a positive point: confronting a sometimes different point of view on certain issues creates richness in the exchange.
The best motivation? To see the change, to see or hear the story of someone we have touched and how their life has changed, even a little.
When we manage to work with the local government and get their support, it is also a very motivating success because this involvement is important for the sustainability of the projects.