Sandy Carvajal is a woman on a mission to create a world without poverty – it’s a big call but without people like Sandy and organisations like Good Return, nada, niente, zip would be happening. Good Return is a not-for-profit with a focus on facilitating micro-financing coupled with education on how to manage this finance for poor communities in developing countries – and it’s designed for women.

We asked Sandy about her experiences working with Good Return and then as she is a wonderful client of our and wearing our Good Day Girl styles, we wanted to know how it feels to don it.

Here Sandy wears: Good Day Girl Cowl Top in black/white, our Asymmetric Skirt in black with her favourite “runners” from Alistair Trung…..yes she can and has run in them!

What is your role at Good Return and how long have you been working with them?

I’ve been at Good Return for 2 ½ years, first as a volunteer and then as the Corporate Relations Manager. This year I’ve moved over to the Program Team which works with our partners and clients in Asia Pacific. My current role is Program Development Coordinator.

Favourite elements of your job?

Since we are a small team, we often collaborate across the organisation and as a result get to wear many hats. For example, last week I put together a contract for one of our partners, did a voice over in Spanish for an animation on social performance management, prepared a talk on ‘how NGOs can work with the business sector’ for a presentation I’ll be giving next week, and facilitated a global call with a corporate partner, among other things.  I also love visiting the field and working directly with our partners on the ground, it’s what drew me to this type of work.

An interesting story from your trips? Was there a particular client of Good Return who was doing something quite unexpected?

I was in Guimaras Island, in the Philippines earlier this year visiting one of our centres where we offer free financial education. Classes are hosted in the village and usually take place outdoors. I was there to see how classes were progressing, ask the clients about how they felt about the training, their loans and small enterprises. Good Return has also been promoting the use of renewable energy technologies, mainly solar lamps, and one woman had purchased one for her home. Often clients who are poor and live in remote areas don’t have access to electricity from the grid. One woman had purchased a solar lamp using a micro-loan and it came equipped with the capacity to recharge a mobile phone. She had noticed that in the field next to her home the military was performing drills and decided to offer the recruits the chance to recharge their phones while they trained. She would hang her lamp from a tree and re-charge phones all day for a small fee. Over the course of the next few weeks she was able to repay her loan and make a profit, through this small creative enterprise.

During your travels and working with Good Return, what has truly made your eyes open wider?

  • Staying in remote villages with the people you work with opens your eyes to their daily struggles in life.  It shows you how hard it is to get water, cook meals when you don’t have gas, use the loo, wash your hands, stay warm, live without electricity.
  • My travels through countries like Nicaragua, Cuba, Myanmar, and Bangladesh have shown me that there is a huge gulf that exists between the poor in developing nations and those that live in more developed nations. It makes me want to work to help close that huge imbalance.
  • It’s a hard realisation that the poor in developing nations could forge a good life for themselves if they had access to opportunities, such as education, medicine, and running water.

 I am often struck by the level of generosity that comes from people who have so little, and are willing to share what little they do have.  It puts your life into such a different perspective.

On your personal style – how long does it take you to get dressed in the morning? And do you think about what you wear the night before or just go for it in the morning?

  • I don’t like to fuss in the morning but I like to have some special pieces in the closet that are unusual or a bit whimsical.
  • I usually get dressed in 10 minutes.
  • I’ll sometimes consider what I’m going to wear in the shower but often just open the closet and pick one item and match the rest to that.

We absolutely applaud Sandy and Good Return – it’s easy to give and get involved with helping a woman with her business, so jump online and check it out for yourself! Discover here.

Thanks Dean Tirkot for taking the shots!




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