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Explore our Human Rights Internships

Looking to gain some work experience in the human rights or social justice field? These human rights internships focus on a wide range of social development issues including female empowerment, skill development, refugee issues, human rights, and human resources. A human rights internship contributes to a unique opportunity to work actively toward creating a more equitable and just society. It’s a chance to blend your passion for human rights with your determination to make a positive impact on the lives of marginalized populations and advocate for social justice.

Though applications are open to anyone, these internships are particularly suitable for students of sociology, psychology, international development, human rights law, international law, or related fields. By joining a human rights internship abroad, you’ll gain valuable work experience at a grassroots level – and you’ll get to spend some time in a new country!

Read more about our Human Rights internships options

Why choose Roots Interns for Human Rights Internships?

Grassroots work

You’ll join an organization that works directly with their community to solve problems on the ground and make a real impact.


We’ll help you find and prepare for an internship with the organization that’s right for you and your skills, background, and passions.

Academic Placements

Working abroad is an experience like no other and your internship will be tailored to your studies and interests.

Browse All Human Rights Internship Projects

migrants posing for a photo in front of a shelter

Open for applications

Shelter And Support For Migrants Internship

  • Min. 3 months
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Facilitation, Evaluation, Coordination, Communication
Provide essential shelter and support for young migrants, fostering a welcoming environment as they navigate new challenges and opportunities.
Find out more
Refugee research internship

Open for applications

Refugee Research Internship

  • Min. 5 months
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Human Rights, Research, Refugees and Migrants
Investigate challenges in the migratory phenomenon across Africa, focusing on refugees and displaced populations to shape impactful solutions.
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Migrants and refugee charity internship

Open for applications

Migrants & Refugee Charity Internship

  • Min. 12 weeks
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Refugees and Migrants, Human Rights
Promote the welfare of migrants and refugees, fostering inclusivity in diverse communities and participating in the daily operations of programs.
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Empowerment of Refugees Internship

Open for applications

Empowerment of Refugees Internship

  • Min. 5 months
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Refugees and Migrants, Skill Development, Social Welfare
Empower migrants and refugees in South Africa to rebuild their lives and contribute to their new community through social and economic support.
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Advocacy and Human Rights Internship

Open for applications

Advocacy & Human Rights Internship

  • Min. 5 months
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Human Rights, Refugee Law and Migration Issues
Champion human rights and advocate for justice in the vibrant context of Cape Town, where your unwavering dedication makes a meaningful impact.
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Communications Internship

Open for applications

Communications Internship

  • Min. 12 weeks
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Communications, Social Media, Digital Marketing, Writing
Manage and enhance communication channels for a nonprofit supporting refugees, amplifying their voices, and encouraging community engagement.
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Female Empowerment Internship

Open for applications

Female Empowerment Internship

  • Min. 5 months
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Business Development, Communication, Coordination
Acquire meaningful work experience as you empower female refugees through skill development workshops, enabling them to shape a brighter future.
Find out more

Other Academic Focus Areas

Benefits of Human Rights Internships

Community Connections

Human rights internships will enable you to contribute to the empowerment of marginalized communities and individuals. You’ll get the chance to see the tangible result of your efforts on people’s lives while getting the opportunities to build lasting relationships.

Personal Growth 

As an intern, you’ll develop your ability to work in new environments, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone which improves qualities such as resilience, leadership, and adaptability.

Resume Engagement

A human rights internship showcases your commitment to social justice and human rights, allowing you to stand out among the crowd and bring unique experiences to interviews and networking events.

Personal Network

Connect with various professionals, experts, and activists in the human rights sector, enabling you to expand your professional network and potentially future job opportunities.

Make an Impact

Human rights internships allow you to engage in work that aligns with your passion for global equality and accessibility, justice, and social change. This makes your efforts and daily work personally rewarding while making a difference.

Gain Insight

See first-hand what it’s like to work in this field. You’ll get a look into the behind-the-scenes of these initiatives and learn the daily commitment it takes to make sustainable progress.

Best Places for Human Rights Internships

Why Choose Roots Internships in Human Rights

Find out from our previous interns how internship positions in Human Rights can boost your professional career and grow your interpersonal skills.

This internship has been unforgettable and has played a large role in my professional development. The people I worked with are passionate about supporting students and are driven to achieve the most positive outcomes for our recipients. I helped teach Digital Literacy training and prepare migrant/refugee students for specialized degree programs along with assisting with employment access and professional development of students who have completed their degrees. I gained a lot of experience and knowledge from my work here which is something I would not have learned from a classroom setting. I plan to continue working in the non-profit sector in my career. This internship showed me the background of how organizations are run and the kind of admin needed for success.

Prajna, George Washington University, South African – Migrant and Refugee Charity Internship, South Africa

Nothing beats the feeling of knowing that my work has an actual impact. Giving to others really does give one so much more than taking. At the helpdesk of the Employment Access Program, I created resumes and completed job applications for clients. I also assisted with various administration duties and the Digital Literacy training, where I got to teach and engage with learners. The biggest fulfillment is to know that someone found a job and can stay in the country because I found a placement for them and guided them along the way.

Bailey, Brigham Young University, American – Refugee Empowerment Internship, South Africa

Even though I worked behind a computer most of the days, I loved what I did during my internship. I was finally able to use the skills I had gained during my studies to do something important, and I was developing myself in the process as well. I learned many new things that I know will come in handy in all aspects of adult life. Furthermore, I gained valuable experience in both research as well as in working with an NGO. My tasks included working on the Atlas of Migration, which is an online platform and I wrote an article about the differences between refugee camps and refugee formal settlement. I worked a lot on social media platforms and with general communications and sometimes at the English school in registration and certain ‘fun’ events that they organized. Always being busy with different tasks was interesting and allowed me to learn various new skills and made the whole experience very rewarding. I was in Cape Town for five months, and it was one of the best times of my life. I learned so many new things, and made many great friends for life! I definitely recommend doing an internship with Roots, as you’ll be guaranteed to have a good time and add an interesting experience to your resume!

Lola, Maastricht University, Dutch – Refugee Research Internship, South Africa

Blogs about Human Rights

human-rights-internshipsFinding your internshipHuman Rights
January 29, 2021

10 reasons why to choose human rights internships abroad

Are you considering entering a career in human rights? This is 10 reasons why you should explore our human rights internships.
LolaResearch internshipsHuman RightsIntern experiencesSouth Africa
April 8, 2020


Lola found the perfect internship after finishing her university degrees. As a research intern, she gained valuable work experience in the nonprofit sector.
EmielHuman RightsIntern experiencesSouth Africa
April 9, 2019

Six Months in Cape Town as an Advocacy and Human Rights Volunteer

Interested in protecting the rights of refugees and migrants? Read Emiel's blog post who spent six months in Cape Town as an Advocacy volunteer.

Human Rights FAQs

How experienced do I need to be to join a human rights Internship?

It depends on the specific internship program; some require more experience than others, and others are more flexible. We’ll make sure you are the right candidate for the internship you want to join, so that you have an experience that meets your internship goals. We are happy to work with you to find the ideal match, so get in touch with us at internship[at] and share some details about what you’re looking for!

What can I expect to learn as a Human Rights Intern?

Be prepared to learn a lot! No matter which internship you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a reputable organization that has years’ worth of experience in human rights. The more you are open to taking on, the more you will learn! And the learning doesn’t stop there; if you choose a human rights internship abroad, you’ll also get a chance to learn about a different country and unique culture. Regardless of your destination, you’ll push yourself daily by learning what it’s like to join a team and project. The possibilities for growth are endless!

How will a Human Rights Internship help my career?

As a human rights intern, you’ll be able to see how a nonprofit organization is operated. You will work alongside team members from around the world and professionals who have been in the human rights sector for years. Each organization we partner with has a wealth of resources that are available to their interns. Besides gaining experience in human rights, you’ll also be gaining international work experience, resume and cover letter content, and exposure to a new culture. This is a bonus that comes along with choosing Roots Interns!

How do I apply for aHuman Rights Internship?

If you’re ready to apply for any of these human rights internships, here’s what to do;

  • If you know which internship (or organization) you’d like to apply for, fill out the application form, and send your CV to internship[at] If you’re interested in various internships, or you’re not sure which one would suit you best, you can send us an email and we’ll help you narrow down which opportunity is right for you.
  • We’ll set up a short virtual call to discuss your application, find out more about you and what you’re hoping to get out of the internship experience, and we’ll answer any questions you may have.
  • We’ll then pass your application on to the person who would be your supervisor on the project. If he/she thinks it might be a good match, there will be a second interview, which will go into more detail about the tasks.
  • If everyone feels it’s a match, you’ll get an internship offer, and if you accept it, we’ll start the process of organizing your internship!


If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:


Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.



We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.


If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.


If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.


Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.


Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!