Empowerment of Refugees Internship with NGO

Do you like meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures? And do you like helping them to integrate into South African society? We offer a nonprofit internship you will love. This NGO in Cape Town runs a program to promote the socio-economic integration of asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and South Africans “in need” by facilitating access to employment. During this Refugee Empowerment Internship, you will be part of the Employment Access and Skills Development program. You will assist individual clients with their job application process as well as assist the program manager with a series of workshops as part of the skills training program. If you are passionate about supporting people and have an interest in migration and refugee issues, this is an excellent opportunity. You will make an impact and contribute to cultural, social and economic integration in the rainbow nation.



Quick Facts

  • Destination Cape Town
  • Type of Organization Nonprofit
  • Work focus Refugees and migrants, skills development, monitoring and reporting
  • Length of internship 5-6 months
  • Accommodation Choice of several types
  • Fee on demand

This organization started in Cape Town in 1994 as religious assistance to different communities of migrants but soon expanded to offering more tangible assistance as they were confronted with the problems experienced by refugees from Angola, the Congos, Rwanda, Burundi and other African communities. In 2003 a secular non-government organization was started to run these projects, the Scalabrini Center of Cape Town (SCCT).

Migration is perceived as an opportunity by this organization, so they are on a mission to alleviate poverty and promoting development in the Western Cape while fostering cultural, social and economic integration between migrants, refugees, and South Africans. In providing their assistance they advocate respect for human rights and use a holistic approach that considers all basic needs.

Every month around 2000 people visit the center, which offers service through six main programme areas:

  • Advocacy: Protecting, promoting and advancing the rights and freedoms of migrants and refugees by providing paralegal advice and practical assistance to individuals on a walk-in basis. In addition, this team works on driving deeper systemic change in the South African society and immigration and asylum systems.
  • English School: Providing a specialized English language school for refugees and migrants.
  • Employment Access: Providing a gateway to employment by providing support to foreign nationals who are legally entitled to look for work in South Africa. The organization provides a combination of skills training, professional development, and resources needed for success in the job market.
  • Unite: A unique extra-curricular curriculum for grade 8-11, which provokes a deep exploration of the themes of identity, integration, and diversity to promote activism and critical thought in youth living in South Africa.
  • Welfare: Accessing services for migrants and refugees in need. Through a process of consultation, they assist individuals to access basic services such as medical care, schooling, shelter, South African Social Grants (SASSA grants) and assistance with advice/application for voluntary repatriation.
  • Women’s Platform: A multi-national network of women that strengthens individuals to enhance economic independence and integration into the broader South African community.

Scalabrini  Womens Platform

The project

The aim of the Employment Access Program is to facilitate the socio-economic integration of refugees, migrants, and South Africans through improving their access to employment. This Program supports foreign nationals who are legally entitled to look for work in South Africa by providing a combination of skills training, professional development, and resources needed for success in the job market. They do this by providing services to clients via the Employment Help Desk as well as through related programs and projects

  1. Employment Help Desk – Assists clients with finding employment by offering support in the job application process. They are assisted with writing up their CV, applying for work online, sending emails and making professional telephone calls, and fax applications. There also is a Computer Lab open for clients who are computer literate and able to apply independently.
  2. Skills Training Program – A series of workshops facilitated by the staff with the assistance of interns. It will provide job readiness skills to clients, as well as increase their confidence and chances of securing employment.
    • Life Skills & Digital Literacy Workshop – A workshop made up of the different modules:
      • Life Skills: self-esteem, basic financial literacy, conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS awareness
      • Applying for Work: interview skills, phone etiquette
      • Worker’s Rights and Detention & Deportation: labor rights and responsibilities
      • Digital Literacy: basic Microsoft Suite, Internet, and Email
    • Special Skills Information Session – An opportunity for clients to gain insight into a specific industry. Professionals present information on their particular industry, giving clients the opportunity to educate themselves further and increase their chances of securing employment.
    • The Work Support Group – Monthly gathering, as an additional resource for Employment Help Desk clients. These meetings are an opportunity for networking and further skill development.

Your tasks and responsibilities

As an intern, you will divide your time between the Employment Access Helpdesk and the other programs. Every morning, from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm, you will work on the Employment Help Desk providing the services to clients on an individual basis. And every afternoon, from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, you participate in additional projects as determined by the Program Manager. Your tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Working on the Employment Help Desk
    • Typing CVs and cover letters for clients
    • Creating e-mail accounts for clients
    • Assistance with the employment-related phone, fax, scan and e-mail services and job applications
    • Managing the PC lab so that clients can complete job searches and applications
    • Researching suitable job adverts for clients on a daily basis
    • Capturing and collecting data to be entered and updated in the database
    • Providing clients with job readiness skills
  • Assist with the Skills Training Program
    • Registering clients for the workshops
    • Performing follow up calls
    • Grading tests
    • Creating certificates
    • Preparing lunches
    • Coordinating the day-to-day operations
    • Facilitating digital literacy workshops
  • Monitoring Evaluation, and Reporting – Gathering research and data on the Employment Access Programme in order to plan for improvement and expansion of the overall project. This includes
    • Running a random sample of the Employment Help Desk
    • Help facilitate focus groups on our intern portfolio projects
    • Research on the current client database of more than 3,000 clients.

This organization also offers internships in Communications, English School, Human Rights and Advocacy, Female empowerment or a 3-month all-round position.

NB. Please note that the internship is based on a volunteer work placement, so you are not receiving any payment or stipend.

Scalabrini  Scalabrini

Where you’ll stay

Your accommodation is included in the internship fee, and we’ll arrange it all for you! We’re excited to offer a variety of options, ranging from dorm rooms to twin and single rooms. The options available depend on your internship period, but we’ll always make sure you’re in a comfortable, central, and safe place. Please get in touch to find out what options are available during your preferred period.

Guesthouse  Guesthouse


  • Self-motivated, self-disciplined and hardworking
  • PC literate (highly proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and internet)
  • Good oral and written communication skills (English essential, French an advantage)
  • Interest in interacting with people from different backgrounds and cultures
  • Client orientated and passionate about serving clients in their pursuit towards self-reliance in South Africa
  • Minimum availability of 5-6 months

The Application Process

If you’re keen on this work placement and feel that you could make a good contribution, we’d love to hear from you! Here’s what to do:

  1. Fill in the  (it will show in a slider pop-up!) and send us your CV.
  2. If we might have a placement available for you, we’ll chat with you on the phone or Skype to go through your application and make sure it’s a good match.
  3. We’ll set up a call between you and the person who would be your supervisor during the work placement.
  4. If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, get started with a detailed booking form, and we’ll give you all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming adventure.
  5. 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 shoot us an email, or fill in the contact form. We’ll be happy to assist!

When can you start making an impact?
You can start your internship every week, so your final starting date is based on what suits you and the organization the best.


At Roots, we do everything we can to make your internship experience smooth and hassle-free. We offer an all-inclusive service, which means we will help you find the right internship (we believe we are great matchmakers!), help you with visa arrangements, book accommodation for you in Cape Town, give you all the pre-departure information you need before arriving, pick you up from the airport and check in with you while on your work placement to ensure you feel supported.

Your exact fee depends on the accommodation you choose, but start at the following level:

20 weeks   – USD 3,015
24 weeks – USD 3,507

What is included in the fee?

  • Full accommodation rental fees
  • Transfer from Cape Town International airport to your accommodation and back on arrival and departure day
  • Assistance with finding the perfect work placement
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • On the ground support during your stay
  • A discount on weekend activities, exclusive to Roots interns

What is not included in the fee?

  • Flights to Cape Town
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing).
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities

Optional extra

Academic Guidance Apart from the logistical support we offer, and regular check-ins, we also offer additional academic guidance during your internship. At an additional fee of USD 75 a month, you’ll receive monthly sessions with a local lecturer, who will support you in placing your work experience in the context of your academic course, and assist you with any report writing and/or research you’re required to do.

We'd love to hear from you! Leave a message, and we'll get back to you shortly to help find you a valuable work placement where you can make an impact.

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