Kaya Responsible Travel, South Africa
Summer Entrepreneurial Internships
Internship Site: The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to conduct an internship in Cape Town, South Africa with a human rights NGO, and I truly immersed myself in the local South African culture. For eight weeks, I worked in the Employment Access Programme at the Scalabrini Centre where I provided asylum seekers, migrants, and refugees with the resources and support needed to find successful employment. I loved my experience at the Scalabrini Centre, and I felt accomplished by helping dozens of people in need find employment around Cape Town.
Every morning, I would begin my day by creating job postings for our clients to look through. Using a South African website where employers can post job openings, I would select credible job postings, summarize the qualifications and details of the job, and send the postings to our WhatsApp group for clients to see. Most of our clients do not have access to a computer, so it is helpful for them to receive these job postings straight to their phones.
Additionally, I was in charge of the help desk at the Employment Access Programme. Clients would walk into our office, and I was in charge of addressing their needs in regard to finding a job. I would create CVs, write cover letters, help set up email accounts, respond to employment opportunities on behalf of clients, and arrange interviews. Since our clients consisted mostly of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, their English skills were limited, and they were unsure of how to navigate the Cape Town job market. By giving them the resources they needed, they were better equipped to apply for jobs by themselves and find employment. This part of the job took up the bulk of my time, and it was a long process to understand their job history, create a CV, and find the right job they were looking for. I also enjoyed this part of my internship the most since I loved being able to interact with clients and learn from their experiences. I used my French skills to communicate with migrants from the DRC where the majority of our clients were from, and I met people from all over Africa. The highlight of my internship was when clients began to know me by name and personally ask for my help when they came to the office. I loved being able to impact their lives by increasing their chances of finding employment, and I will always remember the faces of my clients and their stories.
Finally, I was also in charge of leading the Digital Literacy Course at the Scalabrini Centre. Every other week, I hosted this course that was free and open to the public where I taught the students the basics of operating a computer, how to write professional emails, and how to search and apply for jobs online. For many of my students, they had no computer experience whatsoever, but by the end of the course they could compose emails, attach their CV, and send emails to potential employers after finding a job opening online. This allowed the students to independently conduct a job search, and they learned the basics of vital tools such as the internet, computers, and email.
I was very pleased with my internship experience, and I felt successful in my work. I created dozens of CVs, helped almost 100 walk-in clients with their questions, led a digital literacy course for over 40 students, and I also helped put the finishing touches on a curriculum for a future foundational digital literacy course. Additionally, I helped the Scalabrini Centre’s English School communicate with new students using my French skills, helped the Welfare Department with loading and unloading food and supplies for our most vulnerable clients, and I volunteered at the Scalabrini Centre’s partner foster home every weekend where I played and supervised the young boys in the home. I made the most of my internship opportunity by always taking on new projects, and I was always open to new experiences and challenges.
My experience in Cape Town was truly life-changing, and I will always treasure my time in South Africa. Not only was my internship a great opportunity for me to learn more about human rights, policy work, and immigration, but I was able to get to know Cape Town really well through all the fun activities I would do outside of work. I would recommend working for the Scalabrini Centre in Cape Town to anyone, and my experience was everything I was looking for and more.