Rebecca Crowie – Advocacy volunteer
Rebecca began her time at Scalabrini with the Women’s Platform and then went on to join the Advocacy team. She reflects on her time here below.
“I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. I did a BsocSci honours degree in justice and transformation at UCT (University of Cape Town). My academic interest lies in the human rights field, more specifically championing the rights of disadvantaged and minority groups.
“I’ve also learnt to rethink the many privileges that I’ve taken for granted just by being a South African citizen; things I’ve never had to think twice about. Scalabrini has been an enormous journey of self-discovery and has been an extremely enlightening experience.”
I was searching for an internship, preferably at an NGO, for some post studying experience. I am currently a volunteer for the Advocacy Programme. Refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented people are a particularly vulnerable group in this country and they often possess a very limited knowledge of their legal rights. Assisting them, specifically under the Advocacy Programme, was right in line with my interests.
My experience has been positive from the start. The operations manager was warm and friendly to me from the beginning. My contract with my listed responsibilities was comprehensive. I was impressed by the ‘meeting the teams’ part, where a representative from each department would provide an in-depth explanation on the particular programme’s job scope to the new comers.
Professionally, I’ve overcome a great deal of anxiety when dealing with clients in a professional setting. Generalised anxiety is an issue I’ve struggled with for many years. So, on a personal scale, my engagement with clients at Scalabrini has benefited me enormously in interpersonal relationships that extend beyond the office too.
I’ve also learnt to rethink the many privileges that I’ve taken for granted just by being a South African citizen; things I’ve never had to think twice about. Scalabrini has been an enormous journey of self-discovery and has been an extremely enlightening experience.
My greatest high for my time here has definitely been when I organised a two day self-defence workshop for the Women’s Platform clients. I outsourced an instructor on social media, organised dates, times and hall bookings. I was rather apprehensive in the days leading up to it as I had never met the instructor before. However, there was such an easy, effortless chemistry between the instructor and the women in attendance. I could tell the women appreciated the class. They learnt so much that they didn’t know before. I felt extremely proud of myself at the conclusion of the workshop.
Although this did not happen often, my lows would have to be my exposure to traumatic, unfortunate stories from my clients. At the same time, I feel the exposure to these stories could have the potential to help strengthen our emotional intelligence and resilience, so I am ever thankful to them.
My dream is to work for a refugee NGO abroad. I would also love to work for an international organisation such as Human Rights Watch, the UN or Freedom House.
My hope is that all people who walk through our doors feel welcome and that they belong. That if they look different, speak a different language or have a different nationality, this does not mean that there is no place for them in this country. The xenophobic rhetoric we hear from some of our politicians and the violence towards non-South Africans that we witness from some of our private citizens are not reflective of this country. South Africa is big enough for everyone.”