Jenna Yousef: BASP volunteer

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Jenna was looking for an internship where she would be able to engage and work directly with people. BASP turned out to be the perfect fit for her. Read more about her experience at Scalabrini below. 

“I heard really good things about Scalabrini before I even came here. It’s interesting because there really is no one stop shop with these services in the United States at all, so learning how it’s run and how it impacts the lives of so many people has been really cool. 

I am from Seattle and I studied international studies, law, economics and human rights. The pace in Cape Town is much more relaxed than in Seattle. Everything still gets done, but it’s not as intense. It’s been very refreshing. The mountains are the coolest thing for me and seeing them every day from literally every angle is great. 

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“BASP has a great team. You know they love what they do and that makes it all the much better to be here.”

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I am volunteering in BASP. From day to day I am mentoring students and helping them with projects, working on the curriculum and teaching. Personally for me, having come from just finishing a degree, it’s honestly so inspiring to see how hard people work with what they have. What the students have to learn was stuff that I struggled with and I was face to face with a professor a couple of times a week. There are little things that you don’t think about, but I am very privileged to be here and very privileged in general. 

It’s always amazing to see the growth of the students from when they first walk in, to a few weeks down the line. It sometimes gets frustrating when students don’t have access to what they need, but it’s not coming from Scalabrini’s side. 

I feel like I personally want to help every single person I see and I know you can’t, but I think if you can at least help one person and make their world or their day a little bit better, it’s something. Even if we can’t offer the services or the help that a specific person needs, being empathetic and just listening is a good first step. Leave people better than you found them. 

I’ve definitely realised that I want to do something like working in a non-profit or government with a human rights aspect. Personally, I think being here has helped me become a more patient human being and it’s helped me find solutions to problems more efficiently. Many things pop up and you just have to work through them. BASP has a great team. You know they love what they do and that makes it all the much better to be here.”