Cape Town Jean-Louise Olivier Volunteer Story

Jean-Louise Olivier: Advocacy Volunteer

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Hear from Jean-Louise, one of our current Advocacy volunteers, about how her experience is going!

“I was born in South Africa, but I grew up and studied in Australia. I studied development studies, with a focus on refugees, asylum seekers, and gender equality. I did a semester exchange at UCT and I wanted to come back to Cape Town after so I did a lot of research and found Scalabrini, and I applied to be an advocacy intern.

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Tuesdays to Fridays I do client intake in the mornings – that’s my favourite part. In the afternoons, I do research, and work on press reviews or small parts of submissions, or I do client follow-ups. I’ve learned so much. My previous internships haven’t been as hands-on or as full-time – at Scalabrini, you’re constantly in it and learning.

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I’ve gained a lot of professionalism and confidence in this field. One of my favourite moments was when one of my clients was fired and his boss was refusing to pay him. There was a court order from the Department of Labour, and so I kept pestering the boss until eventually he paid. My client phoned me and he was so happy – he was able to pay his rent and for a course that he wanted to take. I hope to keep working in the field with refugees, and with clients specifically, I don’t want to be behind a desk.”

When we asked what Jean-Louis hoped for clients at Scalabrini she said, “I hope that the clients of Scalabrini can feel included in South Africa and that they are able to identify as whatever they want to. I hope that people accept them, and they don’t exploit or harm them.

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“Working with refugees is very rewarding. I would recommend it.”