This post is part of a series of articles that highlight Microsoft employees in Asia who are creating a positive impact in their local community, and inspiring others along the way.
Growing up in the outskirts of Bangkok, Sumol Anantathanasarn was always fascinated by the colourful sights and sounds of farmers’ markets, where villagers made a simple living from selling flowers, vegetables and other fresh produce.
“It was during my days as a university student that I realised I wanted to contribute to bridging the opportunity gap between the rural and urban communities,” Sumol said.
Today, the Senior Partner Channel Development Manager for Cloud at Microsoft Thailand is proud to be actively contributing as a volunteer, helping empower rural villagers to achieve a more sustainable livelihood.
“Working at Microsoft has allowed me to participate in many volunteer activities. I remember my first time joining fellow employee volunteers to paint a library in 2005. I was inspired by that experience. By working together, we were able to provide young children with a more conducive place for reading and learning,” she explained.
Over the past few years, Sumol has been closely involved with the Village Development Partnership, supporting the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation in various projects aimed at helping rural villagers build up their business capabilities.
One such activity was working with farmers in the Buriram province to develop online advertising materials for their dried banana products. “We helped the farmers create their own email and social media accounts to market their products to a broader customer base. We were delighted to learn that their sales increased by 10 percent as a result of the marketing efforts,” she said.
Most recently, Sumol has leveraged her technology knowledge to help underprivileged students fulfil their potential, participating in an online English classroom programme conducted at the nonprofit Mechai Bamboo School. The volunteers used Microsoft software and Skype to demonstrate how students can learn English easily through technology.
“It was a great experience to see how, with a few simple software functions such as the 'speak cell' in Microsoft Excel, the students were able to immediately grasp how to pronounce certain English words. I hope they will continue using the technology to learn and develop their confidence to hold a fluent conversation with foreign visitors!" she said.