Victoria Lim, Development Associate
PSYDEH’s dynamic staff is one of the reasons why we are a paradigm-changing Mexican grassroots organization.
Our team is much more diverse than our peers, with people from all over the world representing diverse professional backgrounds. Having a multi-disciplinary team is by design; it is one of our Value Propositions. We thrive because of the diversity of our staff, partners, and allies.
We hope you enjoy this personal interview with Victoria Lim, Development Associate.
What did you study in college or in life? How do you explain your career and professional interests?
I studied Environmental Studies at university, with a specialization in Environmental Justice.
Even though it may seem far-removed from the human rights work that PSYDEH does, my Environmental Studies degree was actually my first entry point into the field. In university, I took many interdisciplinary environmental classes, exposing me to areas such as Political Science, Indigenous & African American Studies and History. This made me realize just how connected the environment is to human rights, social justice, international security & conflict, and other related disciplines.
In addition, I was able to take practicum courses where I worked with non-profits in New York. For instance, I conducted desk research and interviews on behalf of Farm School NYC to facilitate a holistic review of their organizational structure and funding mechanisms. On behalf of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, I assisted in English & Spanish survey design and implementation, surveyor training, and the organization and analysis of 197 respondent datasets for their Beauty Inside Out campaign. These experiences exposed me to the hands-on element of program development and sharpened my understanding of sustainable development and social justice in practice.
I have also been blessed with the opportunity to take field trips abroad that deepened my interest in human-centric, community-led development work. For example, I once went to rural Panama to speak to cattle ranchers — traditionally blamed for being the main actors of deforestation — who were learning agroforestry techniques that both helped them improve their livelihoods whilst conserving the environment. From this experience, I learnt about the importance of education as a means of development, understanding complex local realities, and empowering communities to define and create an impact for themselves.
All of these experiences equip me with skills and interests that point me towards PSYDEH, which I feel is a great match for these personal and professional interests.
What languages do you speak?
I was born and raised in Singapore, where English is the official language and I learned Mandarin Chinese in school. I started studying Spanish (and a little bit of Japanese) at university. One of my favorite aspects of working with PSYDEH is that I get to use Spanish as part of my job scope.
What do you like most about Mexico?
I have been to Mexico three times. What I appreciate the most about the country are its cultural diversity and its people. I’ve been to various parts of Mexico and every place has its unique customs, gastronomy, history and linguistic peculiarities, Indigenous cultures, and more. I’ve also found people to be extremely welcoming, friendly, and warm on every occasion I’ve visited. Mexican hospitality is really something special!
Who is the woman you admire the most and how has she impacted your life?
My mother, a single mother, has always been my greatest support. She’s not had things easy but she always remains positive, excited about life, and open to growth. Many of my core beliefs and values have come from her and I’m very grateful for her presence in my life.
Why did you decide to invest in PSYDEH and its work?
From my educational experiences, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of locally-led projects that are truly responsive to ground needs and that redistribute power to those who are usually the most marginalized (e.g. women, indigenous people, etc). I strongly believe that is what is required for truly sustainable development to occur.
This is why I really connect with the work that PSYDEH does. PSYDEH’s model of community-based, Indigenous-and women-led empowerment is extremely impressive, especially in the face of the complex social, environmental, and political challenges in the Sierra Otomí-Tepehua region. I am proud to work for an organization whose values and theory of change I align with, and thankful to be doing work that I feel is truly meaningful.
What impact do you want to make with PSYDEH?
As part of the satellite team, I hope to use the skills I have to help serve the field team best carry out their work on the ground. This may look like getting more funding, writing articles and reports, or doing translation work.