Volunteer Spotlight: The Tech-Savvy Londoner


In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 6-12, 2014), Direct Relief is spotlighting dedicated volunteers who help make the work possible. Learn about some of the wonderful people behind the scenes.

In just six short months, Feriba Akhter will make a lasting impact on Direct Relief, bringing her years of professional experience working in information technologies to the organization.

Feriba is a data team leader at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a pharmaceutical company headquartered in the United Kingdom. She has been volunteering with the Direct Relief information technology (IT) team for the past five months as part of the company’s PULSE program.

GSK’s PULSE Volunteer Partnership program matches employees like Feriba with nonprofit organizations in need of their expertise. The program allows the company to give back more than product and cash donations, but also their greatest resource – their people – who contribute lasting value to the organizations they serve. The London native is one of six GSK volunteers from around the world serving at Direct Relief’s headquarters this year.

“Feriba has a very cheerful spirit and a way of working with people that has helped our team accomplish much more than we thought possible,” said Director of IT and Quality at Direct Relief, Ross Comstock.

The PULSE program matched Feriba’s savvy computer skills at GSK with Direct Relief’s needs. Collectively, the team has been working hard to develop a Help Desk that will increase organizational efficiency.

This project has allowed Feriba to contribute a wealth of information and expertise to the team while learning more about the organization’s work in the U.S. and around the world. Over the last few months when Feriba was not busy making computer magic, she was happy to lend a hand packing kits and volunteering at the Santa Barbara Wine Auction this February.

Feriba noted that her time at Direct Relief has helped her realize all the “simple things you can do to make a difference.” She hopes to continue to find time to volunteer on the weekends when she returns home in May.

Direct Relief is thankful for Feriba’s help and all other PULSE volunteers who donate their time and expertise to the organization.

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