Cape Town Kethlyn Gayatiri Volunteer Story

Kethlyn Gayatiri: Employment Access Volunteer

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“As strange as it may sound, I wound picking Africa as my destination for my Summer break, on a random day in Law School. I simply spun the globe and planted my finger on it, and before I knew it, I was on a plane to South Africa. To psych myself up for the trip, I began searching for NGOs to work with, and I felt like Scalabrini was a perfect fit for me. I was an all-rounder intern, but I wound up sticking with the Employment Access Programme, where I work at the Employment Help Desk, or conduct Job Readiness and Digital Literacy workshops for our clients. A working day at the desk is hectic, where I meet between 4 to 10pm clients to design CVs for them and apply jobs for them. Apart from that, I also interact with the clients, and together with the EAP team, we find ways in which we can assist the clients in terms of his/ her professional development, career and training.

Despite being a first-timer in S.A, it felt almost at home. It could be because South Africa was a country that was often discussed in my Human Rights class, but I am sure the warm hospitality, and amazing food are other reasons why I settled so quickly in S.A. I do have to admit, that S.A is very different from my home country, Singapore. Singapore is very much of a “concrete” jungle where we are surrounded by high-rise buildings all of the time. Fast-paced, efficient, and very expensive! The pace of the work environment, and how everything moved was something I needed to adapt to. It reminded me to take it slow, and smell the roses. Given how South Africa is filled with Mother Nature’s wonders, it then gives me the perfect opportunities to appreciate all that South Africa had to offer. I fell in love with the mountains, the sea, the food, the music, the art scene, the languages, and the culture.

The major highlight was receiving emails and cards from clients as a form of appreciation for the work that we do for them. It can be an exhausting task to meet clients after clients, and put out fire with them as we listen to their problems, struggles and obstacles, and try to find ways to help them. Thus, receiving appreciative notes reassures and motivates us to hang in there.
It is going to be bittersweet to bid farewell to Scalabrini, more specifically, to the EAP and the Womens’ Platform. I would not have been enjoying, in fact, looking forward to work every day. 

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“All of you have a heart of Gold, and the team reminds me every day of how important it is to keep the passion alive, and to not be afraid to pursue my goals and dreams. I hope that the clients too feel the same energy when they meet us, because they are amazing individuals too, and they just need the right opportunity to prosper.”