Giving back - Daniel Chow, Edmonton

Chow spent six weeks working with Prison Fellowship Cambodia, an organization that helps reintegrate prisoners into society.

Born in Shanghai, Daniel Chow emigrated to Edmonton with his family when he was six years old. Growing up, he came to understand the challenges his parents took on to provide him with more opportunity. He also understood the importance of giving back. After graduating from the University of Alberta and becoming an accountant, he began looking for opportunities to work with a not-for-profit organization overseas.

An online search led Chow to AfID and an assignment with Prison Fellowship Cambodia, an organization that helps reintegrate prisoners into society and supports the families and children of people in prison. Chow spent six weeks, from June 4 to July 16, 2013, working closely with the finance manager and implementing processes and controls. "I built templates and created instruction sheets to help them understand why financial reports are insightful and valuable," says Chow. "The work that Prison Fellowship does is life changing. There are no government supports for prisoners and Prison Fellowship teaches English and work skills to help former prisoners find jobs on their release. I’m happy I was able to help by sharing my skills. I believe the budget analysis and variance analysis will provide the board and management with more insight on where to allocate donations."

When he wasn’t working, Chow lived like a tourist, learning all he could about a country he most likely would never have seen had he not volunteered. He credits the experience with opening his eyes to what life is like in developing countries. He also believes it helped him land his current position as financial controller at Edmonton-based Entrust Corp., a government agency that provides housing for people with special needs. "Volunteering made me a better and more efficient [accountant]," says Chow. "I'm very grateful for my time in Cambodia."



Daniel Chow visits the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

 Daniel Chow


Chow at the Plantation hotel in Phnom Penh.

 Daniel Chow


Chow with girlfriend Rachel Chan.

 Daniel Chow and Rachel Chan

About the Author

Mary Teresa Bitti


Mary Teresa Bitti is a freelance writer based in Oakville, Ont.

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