At the end of last year, Lisa joined us for a marketing and communications internship in Cape Town, South Africa for five months. Her internship was part of her degree in International Communications in the Netherlands. Lisa is 23 years old and comes originally from Germany. Her time at Projekt Ubuntu was an eye-opening experience for her, as she shared with us.
“Whenever you start a new experience, you have expectations. You create a picture in your head about how the new experience could be like. Taking this up front: being an intern at Projekt Ubuntu was different than everything I could have imagined”. In the following, I will summarize my experience.
I called Yoga Shala my home, which is a volunteer house for people from all over the world who are coming all the way to South Africa to help. 16-year-olds up to sometimes 50-year-olds are spending a week or even a couple of weeks at Yoga Shala to support one of their projects with all of their hearts. Host mom Candi and her husband Sidney make this place feel like “a home away from home” for everyone. It is such a beautiful and creative place where different age groups, cultural backgrounds, religions and talents come together to work and live.
The first week at the Project was meant to be the introduction. I was able to spend each day at a different project based in Masiphumelele, a township at the outskirts of CT. It allowed me to get to know the kids, community mamas and the culture a bit better. I got a lot of insights and started to understand the purpose of Ubuntu. I would lie if I wouldn’t admit that working in a township was emotionally overwhelming in the first place. Watching all these people on the streets who didn’t seem to have a home neither food, and parents who are too ill to take care of their kids, was a lot to deal with. I started to understand how privileged my life is and felt guilty.
For the second week of introduction I decided to stay at one project in order to understand the work mentality and daily rhythm. After reflecting on my first experiences, I made a decision. I wanted to support, learn about the community, their beliefs and put great effort into the following months.
Look up my marketing and communications internship in Cape Town here
My first impression of “sadness” and “guilt” disappeared when I spent time at the Ubuntu Center. Somehow, I experienced that it is a place of joy, fun and happiness… It is a place where children are offered security, and everyone is treated equally, regardless of their skin color or origin and material values do not matter.
After two weeks of introduction, I was able to understand and convey Ubuntu’s message which was important for any marketing and communication tasks. One of the first projects that I started was a fundraising campaign that supported Ubuntu financially and helped to create general awareness. Besides that, I created social media content, managed different social media accounts, overall supported wherever I could. Just living at Yoga Shala in the international environment and always changing team of volunteers was a challenge itself. My work indeed consisted of a wide range of tasks: I also managed the internal communication flow by leading team meetings with volunteers and other project members. I worked on a lot of problem solving approaches when it comes to project management and planning. Besides that, I worked on intercultural relations and created events like the woman’s day at Ubuntu Center. The fundraising campaign was an online campaign that got spread online and via E-Mail. We managed to raise 1200 Euros and it was my responsibility to direct the money. The money was used for various purposes. Several events were financed, but also important groceries to cook food for the children could be provided with the fundraised money.
It turned out that Ubuntu’s values, the people and the work environment taught me lessons for life. The internship supported my development on a personal and professional level.
Did you know? Roots Interns offers three other internships with Projekt Ubuntu:
1. Psychology Internship
2. Youth Social Work Internship
3. NGO Event Management Internship