Groupon Volunteer Week

Life @ Groupon | June, 2024


During Groupon Volunteer Week, we're shining a spotlight on the dedication of our employees to making a difference beyond the workplace. At Groupon, we believe in the power of giving back, and we're proud to honor those who exemplify this spirit through their volunteer efforts. This initiative highlights the inspiring stories of employees who passionately dedicate their time and talents to various causes, amplifying their impact and inspiring others to get involved. Join us in celebrating these exceptional volunteers as we recognize their contributions and champion the spirit of service during the Volunteer Week and beyond.

Margaux Denisselle

Role: Merchant Consultant Representative

Location: Valencia

Supported association: Adventure Volunteer

Maria Jose Pla

Role: Market Manager

Location:  Valencia

Supported association: Chazon Africa

Daniel Hoeb

Role: Key Account Manager - Events & Tickets

Location: Berlin

Supported association: Green Vocational College

Sonia Perret

Role: Global Media Relations and Country Communications Manager for France

Location: Paris

Supported association: Coup de pouce humanitaire


Could you briefly tell us about your volunteer commitment outside of your work at Groupon?

Margaux: My volunteer journey started last November when I decided to go with Adventure Volunteer to Kenya. I spent 2 weeks in the biggest slum of the country: Soweto, with 10.000 people living in very poor conditions. A family welcomed me in their one-room house and offered me hospitality while they had absolutely nothing. Life in the slum is a daily struggle: finding food being the main activity. Of course they don’t have food so you can imagine that they don’t have any contraception. The slum is full of children, most of them with no one taking care of them. That’s why, Soweto Youth Initiative appeared. This organization is taking care of the children and try to give them some education while they try to find sponsorship for them. School is not free in Kenya and most children can’t afford school. Their future is to stay in the slum? NO! With Lea, a German girl I met there, we joined forces and we decided to find sponsors for these children in Europe 🙂

Maria Jose: Volunteering at Chazon Africa in October 2023 was an incredible experience that I would recommend to everyone. I spent one month immersed in the vibrant community of Molo, contributing to the organization's inspiring mission of improving education and providing care for vulnerable children. During my days, I volunteered at the Chazon Africa School, where I had the privilege of helping feed the children, preparing engaging activities for them, and spending time playing and singing with them. The joy and enthusiasm of the students were infectious, and it was rewarding to see their smiles and hear their laughter. In the afternoons and on weekends, I devoted my time to the Chazon Africa Orphanage, taking care of the children who live there alone. The experience was deeply moving, as I witnessed firsthand the impact of Chazon Africa's holistic approach to caring for abandoned children and working in partnership with the community. Chazon Africa has a rich history rooted in compassion and dedication. Founded by a couple who, after successfully running a restaurant in Molo, decided to do more for the homeless children who came to them for food. In 2007, they closed their restaurant and opened a school to offer free food and education to vulnerable kids. The school began with just seven students but has grown significantly, now housing 460 students. The first volunteers arrived in 2009, and since then, international support has bolstered the project, leading to the establishment of the Chazon Africa Rescue Centre for vulnerable children in 2014 and subsequent expansions.Chazon Africa's initiatives extend beyond education. Their Family Empowerment Program provides solution-building services and programs that create income-generating opportunities for women, ensuring their families have access to essentials like food, clothing, shelter, and education. This comprehensive approach not only aids individual families but also builds a more secure and sustainable future for the entire community. The orphanage, established in 2014, started with 13 children and has grown, thanks to support from various organizations, including the European University of Madrid, to accommodate up to 25 children. The small farm, with chickens, further supports the children’s nutrition needs. In addition to raising chickens, they also plant and grow their own vegetables, and the kids take part in this process. This not only provides fresh produce for their meals but also teaches the children valuable agricultural skills and the importance of sustainable living. My time at Chazon Africa was a life-changing experience. It was fulfilling to be part of an organization that genuinely makes a difference in the lives of children and the broader community. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their mission and encourage anyone looking for a meaningful volunteer experience to consider Chazon Africa.

Daniel: I first met Johnny Strange, the visionary founder of Afrika Rise, back in 2012. As he shared his dream of building a vocational college in Mbipi District, Uganda, I was captivated by his infectious positivity and unwavering commitment. His passion was so inspiring that I instantly fell in love with the project and the remarkable team behind it.  In 2023 I jumped into the board and took more responsibility. The current goal is to built the Green College. The aim is to build the most sustainable education center in Africa to give everyone access to knowledge and education. We are Afrika Rise e.V., founded in 2008 by John Lwanga, the singer from Culcha Candela. Our hearts beat for a shared mission: to offer young people in Africa a promising future. Through innovative education programs, we aim to ignite hope and reinforce the belief in a better world. Africa is on the brink of a monumental construction boom, akin to Europe’s growth over the past century. We see this historical moment as a unique opportunity to drive sustainable change and foster positive transformations. Our vision transcends mere education. We strive to connect young individuals with businesses and organizations to collaboratively create practical solutions for the most pressing challenges of our time. By building a school for sustainable development in Uganda, we are establishing a beacon of hope that will pave the way for new avenues of economic growth and environmental stewardship. This project is more than a school; it is a symbol of new perspectives and a brighter future for all. The EDI Buwere Vocational College is a craft vocational school located in the village of Buwere near the town of Buwama in the Mpigi District, approximately 60 km from Uganda's capital, Kampala. Currently, the school has 111 students, comprising 68 boys and 43 girls. Among them, there are 46 Catholics, 24 Protestants, 12 Muslims, and 10 Adventists. The following vocational training courses are offered: tailor, hairdresser, bicycle mechanic, bricklayer, plumber, automotive mechanic, and electrician.

Sonia: My journey into hands-on volunteer work began in 2016 with La Fondation des Femmes, an organization dedicated to championing women's rights and fighting against gender-based violence. I was involved in organizing and participating in drives to collect essential hygiene and care products for women, mothers, and children. This work was deeply fulfilling, but my volunteer experience reached new heights last year. In 2023, I became a volunteer with Coup de Pouce Humanitaire, an inspiring organization founded in 2001 that connects volunteers with development projects across the globe. This role took me on an incredible adventure to Malawi. In the central district of Dowa lies Dzaleka, a refugee camp established in 1994 by the UNHCR within a former political prison. Designed to host 9,000 refugees, Dzaleka now shelters over 54,000 individuals from Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Coup de Pouce has been actively working in Dzaleka since 2022, and the results have been significant. In just over a year, they've completed more than 12 missions, building new school facilities and providing education for over 500 children, from kindergarten to primary school. Seeing the children attending school in these new buildings, filled with hope and excitement, is a memory that stays with me. Being part of an organization that creates real change and empowers young lives through education has been incredibly fulfilling.


How has your experience at Groupon influenced or enriched your volunteer work? 

Margaux: Groupon is based on 6 values which define the company. One of these values is Respect, Integrity and Inclusion. I never worked before for a company that is so focused on putting human beings first. This philosophy makes you think about others on a daily basis. In volunteer work, you meet so many people with so different cultures and ways of living that you need to have this open mind. You have to understand where they come from and forget about differences.

Maria Jose: My experience at Groupon has significantly enriched my volunteer work in various ways. One of the most impactful aspects was the company's commitment to supporting community engagement through dedicated volunteer days. These days provided me with structured opportunities to contribute my time and skills to various non-profit organizations. Moreover, working at Groupon allowed me to leverage the company's resources and platform to give visibility to projects I was already involved with.

Daniel: I am grateful that Groupon offers volunteer days and activities, providing meaningful opportunities to give back to the community and make a positive impact. My experience at Groupon has profoundly enriched my volunteer work by embedding key values into my daily actions. Integrity at Groupon has taught me to approach volunteering with honesty and genuine commitment, ensuring that my efforts are sincere and impactful. Inclusion has opened my eyes to the importance of embracing diverse perspectives, enabling me to create environments where everyone feels valued and heard. The respect I have learned at Groupon has fostered empathy and understanding in my interactions, making me a more compassionate volunteer. Finally, the emphasis on diversity has made me more adaptable and open-minded, allowing me to connect deeply with people from all walks of life. These values have become integral to my identity, guiding my volunteer efforts and allowing me to make meaningful contributions to the communities I serve.

Sonia: Groupon's emphasis on teamwork has taught me the importance of collaboration and leveraging diverse skills within a group. This was particularly beneficial when working with international teams of volunteers in Malawi, where effective collaboration was key to overcoming language barriers and cultural differences to achieve our mission. 


What's the most rewarding moment you've experienced as a volunteer, and how has it impacted your life? 

Margaux: Thanks to our mission, we managed to find sponsorship for many children in the slum. It was such a pleasure to inform them they will go to school :) They are always so happy about it! I have the hope that they will, one day, be able to find a job and escape from there. I am in touch with them, and I will from now on, always fight for them. They definitely deserve a chance in this world.

Maria Jose: One of my most rewarding volunteer experiences occurred in Molo. While I was with children from the Chazon orphanage, a man approached us, seeking help to enroll four children he was caring for into school. We visited their home together. The children from Chazon helped me locate the house for the Chazon members to visit them. After that, Chazon committed to providing them with free education until their families could afford it. This experience was particularly impactful because the children from Chazon experienced firsthand how it feels to help others, just as Chazon had helped them.

Daniel: The most rewarding moment I've experienced as a volunteer is not just one singular event but a tapestry of impactful experiences that have collectively shaped my life.

Sonia: Undoubtedly, the most rewarding moment in my volunteer journey occurred during my time in Malawi. The presence of the refugee camp, with its exceptionally challenging living conditions, added a unique depth to the experience. It was both eye-opening, confronting the harsh reality of poverty, and profoundly enriching and humbling to witness the resilience of the human spirit amidst such adversity. This experience has truly influenced my perspective. It reminded me of the impact that even small actions can have in making a difference. Witnessing the resilience of the communities I've served has been humbling and has underscored the importance of empathy and compassion in our interactions with others. In light of this, I've decided to continue my volunteer journey. This summer, I'm grateful for the opportunity to volunteer once again with the same organization, this time in Namibia. I'll be assisting in the renovation of a school within the Himba tribe, eager to contribute in my own small way to another community in need. It's a meaningful experience, and I'm thankful for the chance to be a part of it.