For a very long time I thought I had to live up to the expectations of others: study hard, go to university, get my diplomas and always stay on the track I turned into from to beginning. With the overall goal to only become better in what I always shall be doing. And all this is what should make us happy. In contrary to these expectation, my journey to happiness revealed a truth bit different.

I see you

In my mid-twenties, I embarked on a journey of wanderlust that quickly became my beloved addiction. It was a craving for complete immersion and self-reliance. As my professional life blossomed, transitioning from a strategic consultant to a partnership manager in various industries, my passion for travel grew. I sought out remote destinations, surrounded by locals, craving the raw and unfiltered experiences. With my camera as my trusted companion, I learned the art of patience, observation, and capturing the essence of people’s lives. It became a perfect medium for me to learn about their unique stories. Inspired by the beautiful souls I encountered, living pure yet challenging lives, I realised the importance of showcasing their existence. Thus, the project “I SEE YOU” was born, initially through my photography and later through active sharing of ideas and storytelling. It became a profound reflection of my own journey, connecting with others who spoke different languages and enabling me to discover my own needs and talents.

Coincidence? I prefer to call it confirmation of desire.

The turning point in my life was triggered by a friend’s question who asked me to dream. Instantly a vivid vision emerged: “I want to connect with people all over the world, see them as equals, and share their inspiring stories. I want  to learn from and inspire each other.” So, there it is! I said it out loud!

And wow, within a matter of months, a volunteering opportunity with an – till then – completely unknown NGO presented itself. As part of a reporting team, we ventured into Kenyan communities, sharing the stories of remarkable resilience amidst unimaginable hardships. Coincidence that this job came on my path? I prefer to call it confirmation of desire. It was not an easy job to really understand their situations when coming from a completely different background. It felt as a ‘taster’ for me how to deal with such stories. I mainly saw the strength of the people and anything but victimisation. I learned immensely about the different challenges in life and as an exchange the beneficiaries felt heard and seen, what was very important to them after all the silence.

Staying in the office means every day the same faces

Upon returning to the office after two weeks of immersion in amazing stories, I immediately knew it was no longer the right place for me. I yearned to go out there, connect with the unseen, and share their narratives. Remaining in the office would mean every day the same (though also beautiful and very kind) faces everyday. The opposite of that inspires me.

In the summer of 2018, I took a leap of faith and left my job. With a one-way ticket in hand, I ventured into the unknown, letting my intuition be my compass. Along the way, I immersed myself in different lives, cultures, and rituals, discovering the needs, aspirations, and remarkable drive of the people I encountered. What struck me was not only their inspiring personal stories but also the presence of numerous ‘local change makers’, as I like to call them. Experienced who  run initiatives to bring positive impact to their own lives, the communities, country, and beyond.

Everybody has something to give

And it was when I met the Nepalese Nasreen Sheikh when the seeds of Impact Collective were sown.  Nasreen is an incredible local change maker who has overcome personal challenges and has a strong desire to help women. After escaping from an arranged child marriage and working in a dangerous and poorly paid sweatshop at a young age, Nasreen founded Local Women's Handicraft. Her own experiences made her realize that many Nepalese women face similar hardships and require shelter, a safe environment, and employment opportunities.When we met in 2018, she was on the crossing of bringing the organisation to a next level for more empowerment of the females. This also needed a name change, for which she was looking for pro-bono lawyer. That’s where I started to think “He, I have a couple of lawyers in my network. What can I do to help this beautiful activist a bit further?"

Impact Collective is my wish to make the world more inclusive and to really see each other, to connect and collaborate. to support and empower each other. Because everybody has something to give.

In a nutshell

I'm a natural connector and problem solver, always seeking opportunities and embracing simplicity. With a genuine curiosity about people, I effortlessly engage with diverse cultures and individuals from various walks of life. I work on the spot, am a good improviser. The skills and knowledge I developed in corporate life, I adapt now to projects with NGO's and local change makers. My dream is to infuse deeper meaning into my work and serve my skills where I can contribute and inspire others to connect with people from different backgrounds, working towards making the world a better place for everyone.