Site Outreach Coordinators
An Chheng, Site Coordinator
An Chheng is the Head Site Coordinator for VAW Cambodia. She has been working with VAW since 2017.
Dr. Touch Siden, Medical Coordinator
Hello! My name is Touch Siden and I was born in 1986, Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. I moved to Phnom Penh City in 2004 to study at the University of Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine. I finished my studies in 2014; after that I started to work as a Medical Assistant at the International Care Clinic in Phnom Penh. Since then, I have worked as a Physician with an NGO from France (Mission Humanitaire au Cambodge and Association Missions Stagaires). We work in the mobile clinics in the countryside.
I decided to work with Volunteers Around the World because I love Siem Reap, which is the most beautiful place in Cambodia. Working with VAW, I hope to teach the new generations from the USA, Canada and Australia about medicine–through study and practice–in Cambodia. Even more than this, I have always had a passion for giving back to underserved populations. I really like to develop and administer medical and social assistance programs that have a real impact for low income and risk families. Finally, I really love Humanity Mission.
Mauricio Rodriguez Plasencia, Site Coordinator
Hello! My name is Mauricio Rodriguez Plasencia. I am the kind of person who is always willing to help others and I am a believer in God. I was born in Santiago on October 25 and I have eight siblings (four sisters and four brothers).
I grew up in the countryside and I moved to Santiago to finish my high school studies. When I finished, I moved to Jarabacoa where I learned English. My priorities in life are as follows: First is God, because with him, I can do anything. Second is my family; I believe family is super important and the center of life. I also believe in responsibility and honesty. I am a person who likes to learn and expand my knowledge in life all the time. I do not like to see negative things; I always look for the positive things in life 🙂
In my free time, I like to read and write as well as share time with my friends. When I’m with my friends we are always laughing and enjoying what life has to offer. I like to make people laugh. I also like to work. I believe in the youth of this world and in the potential that they have; I love this organization, VAW. To me, it is the best thing that I have been involved in. I hope to give the best of myself and always meet the needs of our staff and work.
Dr. Cristal Núñez Javier, Medical Coordinator
My name is Cristal Núñez Javier. I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. I am a physician and I currently work at a hospital in Santo Domingo.
I studied a degree in music and I play the oboe in the symphonic youth orchestra of my country.
I love playing with kids and being able to help people. In my free time, I love to go out to eat and spend time with my friends.
Dr. Noelia Martinez, Dental Coordinator
Noelia Martinez is the Dental Coordinator & Head Dentist for VAW Dominican Republic. She has been working with VAW since 2017.
Karl Holzwarth, Site Coordinator
A few years ago you would have found Karl in an airport somewhere bouncing from place to place around the globe and living the life of a New York City based executive in the fashion industry. Now, he and his wife own a pub in a small town of 13,000 people on the shores of Lake Atitlan in rural Guatemala.
Having visited upwards of 70 countries both for pleasure and for work Karl has lived from one extreme to the next and is now literally “living the dream” (in his mind at least). Guatemala has given him the opportunity to enjoy his days at a much more relaxed pace in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Karl first crossed paths with VAW in 2011 and was immediately enthralled with the work they did in the local communities in his new adopted home. It didn’t take long for him to get involved and before anyone knew what had happened he was an official VAW team member. He’s worked with VAW in both the Dominican Republic and in Guatemala and although he has no professional medical training he enjoys the opportunity that VAW affords him to work with local Guatemalan doctors as well as the Volunteers from the states.
The VAW projects in Guatemala are a great way to give back to the community that has been so welcoming to Karl and his wife and also to learn more about the magnificent and unique Mayan culture. The days spent on clinics and the off days travelling and enjoying the country with the volunteers are incredible memories that Karl is lucky enough to experience time and time again.
Matt Purvis, Assistant Site Coordinator
My name is Matt Purvis and I’m from England. I’ve been living in Guatemala on and off since 2007 but I’m now based here permanently and have just been granted my Guatemalan residency.
I studied Geology at the University of Bristol and then followed that with a Masters degree in The Science of Natural Hazards from the same institution. I now make my living here in Guatemala doing geological tours; explaining how the many volcanoes of Guatemala formed and how various natural hazards affect the country every year.
I want to work with Volunteers Around the World as it’s a great way to give something back to the country I now think of as home. Guatemala is a beautiful country but also full of beautiful people. The communities that VAW works with here are largely Mayan in nature and the Maya are so warm and friendly that it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place.
I’m my free time here I play soccer for a couple of local teams, eat as much delicious local food as possible and enjoy hiking with my dog Spike!
Dr. Israel Hernandez, Medical Coordinator
Dr. Israel Hernandez graduated from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala in 1995, with the title Medical Doctor and Surgeon. Dr. Hernandez also has a Post Graduate title in Community Attention to Persons with Diabetes from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala.
He has worked for 15 years in Community Health and currently holds a diploma for Risk Management and Reduction from the Instituto Nacional de Administracion Publica de Guatemala. Dr. Hernandez is also studying for a diploma in Nutrition in Emergency Situations from the Instituto de Nutricion de Centroamerica y Panama (INCAP). Dr. Hernandez began working with Volunteers Around the World in 2004 and has been instrumental in the development of the organization.
Dr. María Jose Rodriguez Luna, Dental Coordinator
Hello! My name is María Jose Rodriguez Luna. I was born in El Salvador but am now a resident of Guatemala. I studied Dentistry at the Universidad Evangélica de El Salvador and graduated in 2005. I have a lot of experience working in underserved communities. Previously, I have provided community service work through the local Catholic church. This year, I am so happy to have the opportunity to join Volunteers Around the World’s Dental Outreach project!
I am very excited to bring dental care to the some of the most at-risk communities and work with volunteers and patients on treatment as well as presentation. I love learning and traveling, which I believe are crucial for growth and giving back to humanity!
Veronica Joseph Antunez, Site Coordinator
Veronica was born and raised in Bocas del Toro. She moved to the Virginia when she was 15, where she attended high school. She started university at Thomas Nelson Community College in Virginia, studying Culinary Arts and Hotel Management.
She returned to Bocas del Toro in 2008. She currently lives on Isla Bastimentos with her two young sons and mother. When she is not working with Volunteers Around the World, she works at a local hotel.
During her free time, Veronica enjoys spending time with her sons, hanging out with friends, hunting for iguana and generally enjoying the beautiful Bocas del Toro. She is very excited to be working with Volunteers Around the World to bring primary medical care to communities around the Bocas del Toro region-some of which only receive medical care two or three times per year. She looks forward to meeting all of the volunteers this upcoming summer and helping introduce them to all that Bocas del Toro has to offer.
Dr. Anibal Lara, Medical Coordinator
Anibal Lara is the Medical Coordinator and Head Physician for VAW Panama. He has been working with VAW since 2017.
Marina Ascue Cabrera, Site Coordinator
My name is Marina Ascue and I was born and raised in Cusco, although I also spent part of my childhood in Arequipa. I finished my high school studies at San Borja High School, the first high school in the city of Cusco. I earned my degree in tourism from the University of San Antonio Abad of Cusco. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world and teaching them about my culture and beautiful home region.
In my free time, I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. When I’m not working, I will often travel with my family to the Cusqueñan countryside to enjoy the peace and natural beauty. I enjoy working with Volunteers Around the World because not only do I get to meet the VAW volunteers and show them Cusco, but we also get to give back to the people of Cusco.
Dr. John Huamanquispe Quintana, Medical Coordinator
Hello! My name is John Huamanquispe and I am a physician with a focus in public health (epidemiology) and a professor in the School of Medicine at the Universidad Andina del Cusco. I love to teach statistics, epidemiology and health sciences investigation methodology.
I graduated from the Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco and currently work at the Social Security Hospital (EsSalud) in Cusco Peru. I have always had a passion for giving back to underserved populations. I like to develop and administer medical and social assistance programs that have a real impact for low-income and at-risk families.
In 2015, I began working with Volunteers Around the World as the Medical Coordinator in Peru. I am very grateful for the opportunity, as it allows me to pursue what I am passionate about in my field. I feel VAW’s objectives to improve access to to healthcare and health education–including nutritional and water security and waste disposal–to underserved populations align with my own goals and passions, which makes my job even more fulfilling.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with wife and two beautiful daughters, playing soccer, dancing, listening to music and reading. I am proud to form a part of the VAW team and I am excited to continue developing the projects for the volunteers and local communities in Cusco, Peru.
Dr. Yajhaira Peña, Dental Coordinator
My name is Yajhaira Peña. I was born in Cusco and I am a dentist. I studied at the Andina University of Cusco and worked for many years in the rural areas of Cusco and Apurimac in health centers and ONG projects, where I learned a lot. Currently, I am working in my dental office, as well as studying for a Master’s Degree in Rural Development, because I am passionate about social work in rural and poor communities.
This year, I was selected as the VAW Dental Coordinator in Perú. I am very happy to be a member of the VAW family because it gives me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, from different cultures and with different ways of seeing life, as well as creating positive social change and providing dental care to the people who need it most. In my free time, I like to read and watch classic movies.
Dr. Laura Rosas Calderón, Veterinary Coordinator
My name is Laura Rosas Calderón and I was born in Lima, Perú. I joined VAW in 2017 and I’m excited to create the Veterinary Outreach program in Cusco. I am a Veterinarian Zootechnician graduated from the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), with a Diploma in Wildlife Managment (UNMSM) and in Socio-enviromental Conflict Managment (CNCP).
I chose my profession because I’ve have always loved being with animals and nature, and studying the biological sciences. Since graduating, I have worked in different areas including a pet clinic, teaching undergraduates in the area of histology, coordinating educational extension activities and wildlife management. I moved to Cusco in 2015, motivated by new challenges in accepting a teaching position at the University of San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC) and developing activities in the high Andean areas, like working with South American Camelids. I’m also an active member of the Volunteer Firefighters in Perú since 2002 and I currently go to the Cusco 39 Station during my free time.
Nguyen Dao, Site Coordinator
I graduated from The Saigon International University, Vietnam with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Even though my parents created a stable path for myself to work for the Vietnamese government after college, I decided instead to chase my dreams. I have the dream to use my voice and actions to inspire the next generations and to heal other’s pains.
I grew up in a very poor village surrounded by paddy fields. I remember every single detail of the environment, from funny childhood moments to tough challenges. I remember the difficulties of poverty: eating nothing before taking the bulls to the grass fields or wearing the same pair of shoes my 3 older brothers had worn at my age – sometimes even mismatching shoes to make a pair. These experiences are a big reason why I am interested in using my abilities to help others in need.
I bring experience organizing outside activities for Youth Volunteer Club, an organization serving Vietnam’s street children. These children, who work or live on the street, do not have full knowledge of their rights and are often unaware of the various risks of uncontrolled urban life. Because I was so committed to these young people, during my free time, I would teach English classes to my friends to make money to buy food for the children in my program. I am excited to have the opportunity to experience the cross-cultural professional working environment at VAW as well as helping children in Vietnam. At VAW, I am able to reach children’s hearts once again and open a new adventure in my own “life-book”.
“Life is a huge book and we probably want to tear out some pages. However, everything happens for a reason, do not spend much time to look back; use that time to keep writing the new best things till the last line of the end page.”
– My own philosophy, mixed from many different philosophies.
Dr. Diep Doan, Medical Coordinator
Hi! My name is Diep Doan. I am from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I am a Pediatrician and Professor at the University at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I have been a professor since 1990; I teach my students about pediatric problems. I am also interested in social work, especially for children, and I have given many training courses for health workers in the highlands.
Every year, we organize mobile clinics for children and adults in mountains. We request financial support from family and friends to fund the clinics. This year, I am very happy for the opportunity to do mobile clinics with Volunteers Around the World.
My last humanitarian travel was to Nepal in 2016. While in Nepal, we had mobile clinics with my colleagues as well as gave presentations to the hospitals there. My next work in Vietnam will be in March 2017; it will be a mobile clinic for leprosy patients. This summer, I am happy to begin working as the Medical Coordinator for VAW Vietnam!
Dr. Duong Nguyen, Medical Coordinator
My name is Nguyễn Phúc Thùy Dương (Duong Nguyen). I live in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I studied at The University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City. Since then, I have worked at the Emergency Department of Children’s Hospital 2 for 5 years 3 months. I also passed the IPPC (International Postgraduate Pediatric Certificate) course, an online postgraduate pediatric course of Children’s Hospital at Westmead and University of Sydney. Now, I’m specializing in Pediatric Neurology at City Children’s Hospital and I’m playing the role of leader for Neurology Doctors.
I have worked in the Emergency Room for 6 years. During that time, a lot of ill children have arrived to me in a life-threatening condition and we were not able to save them, even with the best qualified doctors and the most modern equipment. Therefore, I found that healthcare for community is the ideal way to help them. They must be protected, not only treated. Volunteers Around the World can help me with caring for children all over the world. In my free time, I love playing with my son, reading books, listening to music. I especially love traveling around the world for my knowledge and for helping people.
Dr. Nguyet Dang, Medical Coordinator
Dr. Nhu Nguyet Dang Le was born in Song Be, Vietnam. Since her graduation from the Medical University of Ho Chi Minh City in 2009, she has worked as a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital 2 in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2010, Dr Nguyet attended a Master’s program in Biomedicine at Université Catholique de Louvain – Belgium and then she became a PhD student in 2012.
Currently, Dr. Nguyet has continued her work as a pediatrician at City Children’s Hospital after having finished the doctoral thesis. Dr. Nguyet joined VAW because she loves to take care of all children with her knowledge and experiences. In her free time, she likes to travel, especially to the countryside, and of course, she likes to volunteer.