Farhad Vladi was our first supporter to join our Ambassador Programme. Here you can read about his relationship with us and what he hopes to achieve through his role as a MapAction Ambassador.
What was it about MapAction that first grabbed your attention?
Maps are a personal and professional passion of mine. After completing my studies, I set up a business which sells and rents private islands, and more recently I bought Germany’s largest geographical bookstore. I’m something of a map freak!
So when I stumbled across a newspaper article about MapAction’s deployment to Sri Lanka, I knew at once that this was an organisation that I wanted to support. Reading about MapAction’s role in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean (“Boxing Day”) tsunami made me realise just how important maps can be. I immediately got in touch to offer my assistance. When I attended a MapAction training session, I was even more impressed at the professional and efficient way in which the organisation is run.
In what ways do you support MapAction’s work?
I could see that MapAction already had a great deal of technical expertise, so I knew the best way I could help was by underpinning its fundraising efforts. I wanted to make a personal donation, but also wanted to encourage others to support its work. So we set up a German branch of the organisation, which aims to raise awareness and secure additional financial support (with the tax-efficiency advantages of being registered in Germany).
Having a business with geospatial dimensions has also meant that I have networks to help in non-financial ways. For example, I helped to place an advertisement in a trade magazine, which resulted in the recruitment of two new German volunteers.
It has always been a pleasure to share my passion for MapAction and spread the word about its remarkable work. Many of my friends and business associates have become supporters, and as an Ambassador I am committed to giving long-term support.
What do you get out of being an Ambassador?
I find it fascinating and incredibly motivating to receive updates about the latest developments at MapAction. The small staff team are always innovating and learning, so there’s always something new to discover.
It’s also really exciting to feel part of MapAction’s small team. You really get to know people and receive a personalised service. I feel very confident that every penny I give gets to its intended destination.
What are your hopes for the future of MapAction?
I may have been MapAction’s first ambassador, but I very much hope many more will follow. I have already successfully introduced a second ambassador (a friend and business partner of mine). It would be very exciting to share ideas and experiences with more like-minded people, as I’m sure we will all have a lot to learn from each other. So I look forward to meeting more fellow ambassadors in the future.
Thank you to MapAction for all your hard work!