Meet Our Interns: Sofia, Fundraising Intern at Greenpop

Meet Our Interns: Sofia, Fundraising Intern at Greenpop

Written by: Sofia Messina, Italy, Bocconi University

Photo credits: Sofia Messina, Sarah Isaacs

Sofia reflect on her Fundraising Internship in Cape Town

Curiosity to understand South Africa triggered me

If I should say in one word what made me decide to start my internship at Greenpop in Cape Town, I would definitely say CURIOSITY. I heard so many times about South African development patterns, its huge inequality and its controversial history, but still, this was not enough to understand why tree-planting was a good solution to inequality and poverty.

When I entered Greenpop’s office during my first day, I still struggled to understand. I felt everyone there deeply believed in realizing something that for me still sounded hard to be done. Over the days my supervisor, an enthusiastic and really committed young woman, started giving me the first tasks. I had never been fully entrusted with this type of work in my life before and to be honest it was hard for me to focus on several tasks at the same time. But as time passed, I realized an intern’s aim is learning and Greenpop really embeds this idea in the organisational culture.

I slowly learned to speak up when I wasn’t able to do things. And although everyone was giving me trust, there was always someone available for help and advice. I can’t even count the amount of things I learnt: from writing professional (but always fun!)  e-mails to creating databases; from convincing people to partner with us to realizing applications for grants and awards.

Also read what Martina has to say about her Fundraising experience with Greenpop

Understanding the purpose of my NGO Internship

My first planting day definitely made me feel that energy I kept on perceiving starting from the first day. It was my second week and we went to plant trees in a school in a township. While one of the other interns was driving among the shacks I finally understood why those people needed trees. I looked at the children listening to our planting facilitator. It wasn’t just about planting trees but bringing joy and beauty in lives which daily struggle to find happiness. This awareness made me come back to the office in a different mood. It allowed me to understand the final purpose of my work. I’m convinced the main added value of internships in non-profit organisations (and at Greenpop in particular!) is the perfect mix between office work and activities on the field.

And it would be unfair forgetting the huge role that Cape Town played in making this experience what it was. Watching its beautiful sunsets with my friends has been some of the most beautiful parts of these three months.

Learn more about our Fundraising Internship in Cape Town