Staff Member Spotlight: Ana Londoño Botero

Title
Communications and Project Development Officer

Photos

Colombian Master candidate in International Development with specialization Political Strategy and Communication. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations. Demonstrated experience both in Brussels and my home country in Policy Making, Fund Rising, Event Planning and Stake Holder Analysis.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory did not require going to a new country or doing anything extreme: it is more one of my best memories from the times that all my family traveled to gather together.

I come from a very very big family and it is sometimes hard to get together; however, one summer all of my uncles, and by that I mean my 10 uncles, decided it was time for all the kids to get together, the reason why they rented a farm big enough for all of us.

All the kids were put into rooms together. I spent the whole summer with my cousins fishing, milking cows, doing excursions to the river, horse racing and at the pool. It was nothing fancy but it was one of the only time we all got to be together for a long time. I keep those memories with me as one of the happiest ones.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Apart from learning new professional skills in communications and fundraising, SB OverSeas opened my eyes. I have grown as a human being, learning how to put myself in the shoes of others. I have come to realize that even something as simple as receiving a sewing machine, for example, can change the life of a person in more ways that one can possibly imagine.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Most return volunteers talk about the fact that, even though they had seen pictures of refugees camps in the past, they were not prepared for what they found once they arrived in Lebanon. However, all of them agree that our centers are a bright light in a dark place, full of colors, teachers and vibrant funny students. That can, for at least a few hours, make them forget their struggles and learn.

In the words of a volunteer:

“This NGO, this family, built by refugees for refugees, is fighting to give these innocent, amazing kids a safe and happy place for them to learn, play and be children, as children are meant to be. It is fighting to give them the opportunities, hopes, and dreams they so deserve. It is fighting against losing this generation of beautiful children to a war they never asked for.”

Hearing about the number of girls that have been empowered and are now going to school and not married, or the kids who pass their exams to get into the education system motivates me to work harder for all the people we help in Lebanon and Belgium.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Nowadays I work in a communication and project development in Brussels; here we work on the weekends with Asylum seekers who are unaccompanied minors at different centers, and since recently we have a project exclusively with a women center. I feel that by joining the Volunteer program in Lebanon for a couple of months I will gain skills and a better understanding that will allow me to develop better programs here.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I believe one of the things that makes SB OverSeas special is the fact that we become a family, a very special family where we all come from different countries and cultures. However, that makes us special: everyone and everyone’s ideas are always welcome. Because our community is so diverse, everyone is more empathetic with people from different backgrounds, which is an essential characteristic of our work.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe we are very successful because we believe in what we do - being an “on the ground” organization gives us the chance to have one-to-one contact with the community we work for. We get to address their needs directly and build ties with them. I don’t think we can say that the organization has been built only by its workers, rather it has been teamwork with volunteers, students, the women, and the centers, the teachers and the community in general.