Published: December 22, 2016
Published: December 22, 2016

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Hanna Świerkowska: Keeping people safe, in the workplace & on the streets of Nepal Pt. 1

Hanna Świerkowska might jokingly refer to her job as “making people’s life miserable” but her role as an Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) Specialist at the PPG Deco Polska Architectural Coatings plant in Wroclaw, Poland, requires care and compassion.

Not coincidentally, these same qualities have spilled over into the other great passion in Hanna’s life: the country of Nepal.

I’m trying to make our employees’ workplace safe and to provide a friendly environment.

Says Hanna of her job, which she’s held since 2007, having initially joined PPG as an intern. As her favourite part of her work, she cites the “continuous challenges” she faces.

This is not a job in which you are doing the same thing every day,” she explains. “Each and every day is different. I like working with people at every level of our organization, from production workers to top management of the plant, and representing many specialties. I like the possibility to learn day by day.

A Passion for Nepal

Outside of work, that thirst for knowledge has led to travel, with Nepal becoming a particular passion. Hanna has visited the South Asian nation three times and says it is the variety of the country and the friendliness of its people that keep her coming back.

In Nepal you can see almost everything, the poor and the rich; all the religions of the world (it has the largest community of Buddhists outside Tibet); the highest mountains; jungle with tigers, rhinos and wild elephants.
People in Nepal are very friendly. I’m still in contact with a girl named Sumi who I met during my first visit there.

She recommends Nepal as a tourist destination but advises Western visitors to keep an open mind.

It is Asia, and many things are different for Europeans. The levels of poverty and pollution might come as a shock and don’t be surprised if a scooter drives over your feet when you try to cross the road! On the other hand, there are beautiful temples, sculptures and art; amazing views in the Khumbu valley; papayas and lemons growing on trees in gardens; flowers that we plant in pots at home growing wild as big bushes; parrots sitting on the tree just behind your window. The advantages and disadvantages of Nepal are countless.

We'll be posting more information about Hannah's great work in Nepal and her efforts in the earthquake relief next week.

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