Refugee Empowerment Internship in Cape Town

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Help promote social-economic integration of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

If you have an interest in refugee issues and the desire to gain some impactful and hands-on work experience, this internship in Cape Town could be a great fit for you. You’ll join a South African NGO that’s dedicated to the socio-economic integration of asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants; vulnerable groups in South African society. They do this by providing multi-faceted support to individuals, designed to provide access to health services, support people with practical challenges, and facilitate access to employment.

During this Refugee Empowerment Internship, you will provide one-on-one support to refugees, and you’ll help to create and implement an action plan for each individual. This can involve setting people up with relevant counselling, providing housing solutions, or assisting individual clients with the job application process; it’s an all-round process. You might also get involved in the coordination, development, and monitoring and evaluation processes of this nonprofit program.

Learning outcomes of this Refugee Empowerment Internship;

  • A thorough understanding of the often multifaceted needs of refugees and asylum seekers, particularly in a South African context
  • Practical, all-round work experience in working directly with refugees
  • Insights into the day to day running of a refugee charity
  • A chance to develop your communication skills
  • The ability to work in and adapt to different cultures

ORGANIZATION

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.

TASKS & REQUIreMENTS

During this internship you will placed either on the Welfare or Employment Access program.

Responsibilities

As an intern, your tasks can vary according to the needs of the organization and your individual skills, but they are likely to include;

Welfare program

  • Assist the welfare team in assessing how to best help the clients and developing an action plan (of finding solutions for special cases)
  • Referring clients to other sources of help (f.e. legal support, housing, medical health, etc.) using written referral forms
  • Record keeping
  • Home visits to the most marginalized and vulnerable clients
  • Monitoring & Evaluation to ensure effectiveness of the welfare team

Employment Access program

  • Working on the Employment Help Desk, which involves developing CVs and cover letters for clients. creating e-mail accounts for clients, and assisting them with finding relevant job opportunities.
  • Assisting with the Skills Training Program, a series of workshops aimed to provide job readiness skills to clients, and to increase their confidence and chances of securing employment. You might help with designing and hosting these workshops.
  • Providing one on one sessions with refugees or asylum seekers and creating and implementing an action plan that will support each individual’s integration into South African society as much as possible. This can involve providing access to relevant health or counselling services, assisting with visa processes or other practical challenges, and finding legal support.
  • Assisting with overall management and coordination tasks, which can involve answer emails, collecting data, and helping with administrative tasks.

Requirements

  • Self-motivated, self-disciplined and hardworking
  • Patient, diligent, and have a good eye for detail
  • Good oral and written communication skills (English essential, French an advantage)
  • Active listener and emotional intelligence
  • 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
  • Respect and understanding of our client’s circumstances, while maintaining professional boundaries
  • Minimum availability of 5 months preferred

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

You’ll be staying at The Lenox, a comfortable guesthouse in the heart of Cape Town. Built in the old Cape Dutch style, The Lenox is characterful and historic. It has multiple balconies, a large dining room, and many other communal spaces. Shared bedrooms include 2 twin beds, and there are plenty of single rooms available as well (at an extra fee). You’ll be walking distance from many shops, cafes, restaurants, and some of the touristy highlights Cape Town has to offer as well.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Be sure to prioritize hydration in the summer to avoid heatstroke. South Africa does have high crime rates, so it’s important to be aware and use common sense to stay safe. Some safety guidelines are to always walk in groups, take a taxi/Uber in the evenings, know safe/dangerous areas, secure your belongings, don’t walk around with large sums of cash (you can pay everything with a card), minimize wearing flashy accessories, and be cautious of overly friendly strangers.

Communication

Communication

The accommodation offers free Wi-Fi to keep family and friends up to date via WhatsApp, Zoom, etc. Cafes/restaurants also offer free Wi-Fi. You can also consider getting a local SIM card if your phone is unlocked, or setting your phone’s status to roaming, depending on your provider’s rates.

Meals

Meals

A simple breakfast, lunch and a delicious cooked dinner (vegetarian & vegan options available) from Monday to Friday are included in your fee. Indulge in local dishes, like bobotie and South African Braai! For desserts, don’t miss out on milk tarts and malva pudding. There is a diverse food scene in Cape Town, so no matter your cuisine preference or dietary restrictions you’ll have plenty of options. Let us know in advance if you have any allergies/dietary needs.

Location details

Location details

Discover Cape Town’s attractions: Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Gardens, city tours, historical sites, and the Cape Point Peninsula. There are also opportunities to surf, kayak, paraglide, cage dive with sharks, and more! Cape Town has a mediterranean climate with cool winters and hot summers so be sure to check what the temperature will be like during your stay.

DATES & RATES

Fee Breakdown

You can start your internship every week, so your final starting date is based on what suits you and the organization the best. Please keep in mind this organization is closed for four weeks of summer holiday in December and January.

What you’ll pay (2024 rates)

20 WEEKS USD 3,273

26 WEEKS USD 3,987

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.

Inclusions

  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • An academic internship eligible for university credit. Check with your university to confirm if this internship qualifies for credit or alternatively we can assist you with purchasing transfer credits.
  • Accommodation in a shared room (2 pax). If you prefer a single room, please contact us for availability and prices.
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Meals from Monday to Friday
  • Wifi access
  • Housekeeping service
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement and other preparations
  • An orientation program with your supervisor
  • Supervision and support during your stay
  • Regular check-ins during your internship with your supervisor
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship
  • A discount on weekend activities, exclusive to Roots Interns

Exclusions

  • Flights to Cape Town International Airport
  • Visa and medical/travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Transport to the office
  • Meals during weekends
  • Drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
SCHOLARSHIP & FUNDING

FAQs

Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in South Africa.

What can I expect from a NGO internship in South Africa?

During your internship in South Africa you can expect to meet people from around the world, as well as indulging yourself into the culture of this beautiful country! If you want to know more about what to expect, make sure to check out our top 7 reasons for an internship in Cape Town.

Will I have time to explore South Africa during my internship?

Yes! We partner with various activity organizers that can offer discounts exclusive to Roots Interns, for example, a road trip through the Garden Route and bungee jumping off the world’s largest natural bungee. You may also explore the country on your own and we are happy to give recommendations.

Am I able to do an internship while on a study program in Cape Town?

Yes! You are able to do a part-time internship with certain organizations so that you can continue your studies, while also gaining valuable work experience.

Will I receive a stipend of any kind during my internship with Roots?

Unfortunately, no. When working with a nonprofit organization, your internship will be unpaid, but there are many ways to fund your internship. Your experience will bring a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for both professional and personal growth that are invaluable!

QUICK FACTS

LOCATION: Cape Town, South Africa
PROGRAM FOCUS: Social NGO
TASK FOCUS: Skills Development, Monitoring, Reporting
LENGTH: 5-6 months
COST: From USD 3,273

REVIEWS

“The feeling of knowing that my work here has an actual impact. Giving gives one so much more than taking. 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, United StatesRefugee Empowerment Internship, Cape Town
READ MORE REVIEWS

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Help promote the social-economic integration of asylum seekers, refugees, migrants by offering individual and customised support
  • Get involved with skills training and professional development workshops
  • Gain insight in the challenges foreign nationals face to (economically) integrate in South Africa
  • Live and work in Cape Town, arguably one of the most stunning cities in the world.
  • Enjoy exploring South Africa’s many highlights during your time off
ENQUIREAPPLY NOW

HOW TO APPLY

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

APPLY

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

GET STARTED

SPEAK WITH AN ADVISOR

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

INTERNSHIP MATCHING

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

PAYMENT

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.

CONFIRMATION

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

NEED TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY FIRST?

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!

RELATED PROGRAMS

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.
Find out more
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.
Find out more
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.
Find out more

RELATED BLOGS

Value of Internships AbroadMarine Conservation
May 24, 2024

8 Reasons to do a Marine Conservation Internship

Diving to discover mysteries of the deep blue, swimming among technicolor schools of fish, aquatic creatures, and living on sun-soaked beaches — these are just a few things you’ll enjoy…
Value of Internships AbroadCosta RicaPreparing for your internship
May 15, 2024

What Do Internships in Costa Rica Involve?

What do internships in Costa Rica Involve? Jaw-dropping scenery, unbelievable wildlife, and some of the best conservation and sustainability opportunities on the planet. There's a good reason why we named…
Value of Internships AbroadPreparing for your internship
May 15, 2024

7 Personal Impacts of Internships

When most people start searching for an internship, their first thought is to impress future employers, college professors, teachers, or even friends and family. How can an internship benefit you…