Manon – Women’s Platform volunteer
Manon’s studies have focused on peace building and conflict resolution, which has led her to work with refugees quite a bit. When it came time to find an internship, she was pointed in the direction of Scalabrini. Here she spent time with the Women’s Platform. Read more about her six months here.
“I’ve grown up in Denhelder, Netherlands but moved around quite a bit, mostly for school. I moved to Amsterdam at 18 for my Bachelor’s in Anthropology, and then to Groningen for my first Masters, which focused on Religion, Conflict and Globalisation. After that, I moved to Malte for my second Masters, which I’m currently still pursuing in International Humanitarian Action. It’s a two year program, and the first year is split between Groningen and Malte, followed by half a year in Cape Town for this internship and then another six months back in the Netherlands for my thesis with the Red Cross. I was actually just accepted into that program this week, and I’m very excited!
“Facilitating personal development and Conversation Club was a bit challenging for me at first, but has helped me build a lot of confidence. These roles have also allowed for a lot of one-on-one interactions with women. I’ve loved getting to know them and learning about the importance of empathy and compassion in the process.”
I chose to study Anthropology originally, because I loved the way it required me to talk to new people, study their cultures, and travel. I was doing a religious studies minor at the time as well, and started focusing a lot on Islam specifically, which is what led to my Master’s in Religion, Conflict, and Globalisation.
A lot of my studies focused on peace-building and conflict resolution, and I worked with refugees quite a bit. I found this work fascinating and knew I wanted to get involved in humanitarian aid work, which brought me here, to Scalabrini.
While in Malte, my studies were guided by a focus on refugees and migration, and I posted that I was looking for an internship in the field on a Facebook group with students from our masters program. A German woman who’d worked at Scalabrini for several years recommended that I apply. This is my first time in South Africa, and I have really enjoyed it. I didn’t know what to expect, and only knew I was coming to Cape Town about a month before starting my internship. It was kind of spontaneous, but I love all the different cultures and people I’ve been introduced to; Cape Town has so much to offer!
I currently serve as a Women’s Platform intern. Through this role, I lead personal development workshops, facilitate the weekly Conversation Club, run information and registration sessions every other Tuesday, help Amy with administrative tasks like inputting new member information into Salesforce, and helping out with Saturday platform events. Facilitating personal development and Conversation Club was a bit challenging for me at first, but has helped me build a lot of confidence. While in university, I used to get really nervous before presenting, but now I’m very comfortable. These roles have also allowed for a lot of one-on-one interactions with women. I’ve loved getting to know them and learning about the importance of empathy and compassion in the process.
Conversation Club with Natalie has been my favourite thing to be part of. Although it’s always a bit chaotic, I’ve loved getting to watch the women grow in confidence, and they really appreciate what we do. Last Wednesday, we had a reflection and they told us about how initially, they were nervous to talk and share, but now they’ve grown comfortable speaking out in front of the class. It’s nice to create this safe environment for them and feel like we contributed to that transition. My advice to future interns is to be open-minded towards the whole experience, and not just to see it as an opportunity to help others but also one for personal growth.