“I was born and raised in Umea, Sweden, and am currently attending university there, where I study social work and social science. I was drawn to this field because I consider myself a people person, and want to work with and help those in need. My field is pretty common in Sweden, actually.
I first came to South Africa in November 2017 to conduct a field study through my university. I did my research at a boy’s home here in Cape Town, and wrote a paper about my results. In the process, I fell in love with the city, the people, and the weather. It works out great because there’s so much to do in the field of social work here and it’s approached so differently from Sweden; it’s fascinating! Almost everything in Sweden is mandated by the state and NGO’s exist, but are few and far between. When I got the opportunity to come back to South Africa this year, I was really excited. This time, I’m here for 5 months.
“I’ve always identified as a feminist and it’s nice to contribute towards efforts to uplift women. I also love the way the program puts the power in the women’s hands and allows them to empower themselves through their own strength and skills; it’s great to see them build a network and a community. So many women come back to teach or lead programs, which is great to see.”
I was placed at Scalabrini by my university, through a program called African Sunrise. I knew I wanted to work in the NGO setting and was initially placed in BASP. Although I learned a lot while upstairs, I like my current position, a mix between Women’s Platform and EAP much better. I really love Women’s Platform. I’ve always identified as a feminist and it’s nice to contribute towards efforts to uplift women.
I also love the way the program puts the power in the women’s hands and allows them to empower themselves through their own strength and skills; it’s great to see them build a network and a community. So many women come back to teach or lead programs, which is great to see.
My work varies a lot from day-to-day. I always start out doing travel stipends, and beyond that, it’s mostly behind-the-scenes work updating spreadsheets, making phone calls to follow-up with graduates of the Women’s Platform, and other administrative tasks. I recently got to help with the workshop that was organized for Mental Health Awareness Month in October, and I loved that. On Fridays, I’m in EAP, and enjoy that role because I get to meet clients and feel my direct impact.
I’ve learned a lot since coming here, especially during the integration workshop. It taught me about privilege and set the tone for the internship. I think my general perspective of people has opened up a lot, and it's only continuing to spread. My advice to future interns is to be open to challenges and to ask about what you’re interested in and pursue it. I’ll be going back to Sweden in January, and have a year left of school. I’ll write my thesis, which will probably be a comparison between Swedish and South African refugee communities, and plan to graduate in January 2020.”