David Hakan BjornhageHuman Rights Intern | Cape Town
Currently in Geneva, Switzerland and contemplating and gathering my thoughts concerning my stay in South Africa and my work at the refugee centre. Almost 6 months have passed since my arrival in Cape Town in February 2010 and it is a bit hard to believe that time can have passed by so quickly. When I now look back to what I’ve learned and experienced there are a few things I would like to highlight.
First of all, I am pleased that I chose Cape Town as the destination of my internship. The primary reason for this is the combination on the one side of its truly amazing natural surroundings and leisure activities which comprise an excellent tourist destination (the wineries of Stellenbosch and hiking excursions up table mountain being some of my favorite activities!), and on the other hand its pressing and difficult social and economic issues which affect so many people’s lives; South Africans and foreigners alike. The myriad of these issues and the pot-pourri of Cape Town in terms of cultural diversity have made the city a very interesting place of study and I believe that the refugee centre was a very suitable place of departure for such a study.
The refugee centre gave me the opportunity to become engaged in different aspects of its organization with the result of not only providing me with an understanding of the organization itself (the important role that NGOs play in filling social gaps in society), but also of the many difficulties facing asylum-seekers and refugees. Challenges and difficulties that these people perceived on a daily basis could consist of discrimination and xenophobia; issues which infiltrated their workplace, their residential areas, or social networks. My main work with the Employment Help Desk (EHD), but also through teaching, specific projects and research, gave me valuable insights into these challenges.
The interaction with the clients provoked a great deal of interesting discussion and thought and it has also provided me with new problem-solving tools in dealing with people. But the refugee centre has more importantly left me with exceptional memories of strong and skilled individuals struggling to create new lives for themselves in a new country and in the face of adversity. And this is inspirational.
Well, I would just like to end by conveying a big thanks to everyone once again for my time there.
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I recommend this program for absolutely anyone! I spent three of the richest and most memorable months of my life interning for a human rights organization just outside of the city. I was given real work to do that directly related to my University coursework. My coworkers and the entire Connect team were so welcoming and always made sure I had plenty of activities to keep busy with. I quickly...
Amanda PalakaHuman Rights | Cape Town
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Michelle BeattieHuman Rights Internship | Cape Town
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My time with Connect-123 was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to gain valuable experience in my area of study and make lasting relationships with other interns. The staff were very helpful and involved, making sure that I was satisfied with my internship and general experience in South Africa. Melanie was especially helpful and was a very important person in making my time in Cape...
Alyssa Thompson-TuckerRefugee Rights Internship | Cape Town
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