My name is Natália Ribeiro, I’m from São Paulo, Brazil, and I came to South Africa in 2011 to study Journalism at Wits University. I fell in love with South Africa and its people, and I have even considered moving here for good. I’m passionate about international affairs, and I would like to pursue a career in international development with a focus on Southern Africa or Latin America. I’m sure that my internship at the Scalabrini Centre in Cape Town will be an amazing experience and it will also open many doors for me. I’m an intern with the Employment Access Programme, and even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since I started at Scalabrini, I already love it. The Employment Help Desk gives me the opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds, and that is a very rewarding experience. Most of our clients have incredible life stories, and I feel I can learn a lot from them. I’m also involved with the Foreign Educators Internship Programme and the Digital Literacy Workshop, and I’m excited about working more closely with our foreign teachers and workshop students. It’s my first time working for an NGO, and I’m very happy to see how committed and enthusiastic everyone is. I look forward to the next few months in Cape Town, and I know this experience will allow me to grow not only professionally but also on a personal level.
A big applause to our Employment Access Programme and the new Nurses Training Programme as they congratulate the first set of Foreign Nurses to complete the training!
In November, the EAP team launched the Foreign Nurses Training Programme, a programme which assists foreign nurses in completing a certification course in Home Based Care. Partnering with Robin Trust Nursing College, Scalabrini Centre offers sponsorship of course fees for candidates who are qualified nurses in their home country but who have been unable to register as a nurse in South Africa.
The Home Based Care certification will enable our clients to apply for work in the healthcare sector, as well as qualify them for the next level of nursing training. A total of twelve foreign nurses have undergone the training and nine have already completed the course, with the last three expected to graduate in April.
Hi, I am Bethany Fitzgerald and I am from Nashua, New Hampshire in the States. It is now just over one month since I arrived in South Africa and in this beautiful city. I am doing my third year of study in history and international affairs at the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States.
I will be living here for 6 months. During this time, I will be working as the English School intern at Scalabrini. This involves assisting with management of the School and teaching one Beginners class. I believe that my internship at Scalabrini will add to my education as I potentially plan to start a career in non-profit work after I graduate.
Here is a reflection from a previous Scalabrini Intern about her time working at the centre:
Having this experience at Scalabrini was lucky for me in many ways. Not only I could actually help people, but also I ended up working in my field, getting to know the routine of a Human Rights organization. Even more, I got to live the rare experience of having a workplace in which people really care about the meaning of what they do, even when our goals do not seem achievable.
I gained not only knowledge, but examples from the people I worked with. I have seen it is actually possible to treat every client as a human being, listen to their stories and care. Even when there is nothing else we can do. The way the Scalabrini Centre works respects people, in their rights and in their dignity. My colleagues may be involved in big court cases, but they remember people by name.
If you or someone you know is interested in dedicating your time, please me, Elissa, at email@example.com.
As part of my PhD research, I’ve conducted interviews with a range of Cape Town-based migration-related civil society activists. I have heard about a host of challenges, but also some key opportunities in terms of how work might be strengthened in this particularly complex field of work.
People spoke about internal individual organisational challenges, including high staff turnover, resource and funding constraints, being overly busy with too little time for reflection and relationship-building, and having to always be reactive to crises and immediate needs. Some spoke about a lack of strategy and strategic planning in their organisations, particularly due to high levels of immediate demands, rapidly changing priorities, and insecure funding sources which impeded organisations’ ability to plan.
Important external challenges were also identified. We discussed the difficulties of navigating the unstable and fragmented national migration policy environment, the lack of policy implementation (the gap between policy and practice), and the lack of communication and information from government about changes in regulations and policy directions. Many felt relationships with government were deteriorating. They pointed to the difficulties of advocating for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers as a socially and politically marginalised group in South Africa, and noted an ongoing lack of knowledge and capacity within government in terms of proper administrative procedures and regulations. They also identified corruption, violence, and other abuses of rights within the state as key challenges to their own work.
People also spoke about collective challenges facing this sector of civil society, many of which echoed individual organisational constraints. Importantly, they noted a lack of strategy and strategic planning between organisations, and tensions between organisations that work closely with government versus those who take a more adversarial stance. People raised issues of funding competition, ego and personality clashes, a lack of coordination and a general mistrust of collaborative forums.
There were, however, many opportunities identified as well. It was suggested that a stronger emphasis should be placed on relationship-building between organisations, along with enhanced communication about specific work and projects. Some suggested that work could be done to help repair relationships damaged during responses to the May 2008 violence. Space could be made for collegial debate around key concepts and approaches to work, and opportunities for better engagement with policy-makers could be explored. People spoke about the need to recognise that each organisation has a niche in a spectrum of engagement and strategies, with individual roles and strengths. Collaborations, some suggested, could be loose, based on areas where interests and mandates overlap, with accountability structures built in, along with a recognition that a collaborative body cannot speak for all organisations on all issues at all times. The need for a clear, well-communicated plan of action in the event of renewed violence against foreign nationals was raised, as was the need for more opportunities for foreign nationals to become involved in advocating for their own needs.
It is clear that there are many obstacles, but also much potential, as civil society continues to engage with these critical issues.
-Sarah Pugh, Former Scalabrini Intern
The Scalabrini Centre is looking for volunteer English teachers for Beginner to Advanced classes with adult refugee students. Teachers need to be able to commit to a 2 hour class twice a week. Classes run from 9am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. There are a variety of time slots available. We follow a curriculum and all teaching materials are provided.
We are in need of teachers for our next term, from January to June 2014. If you would like to teach English at Scalabrini, please email Kirsty at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
To learn more about Scalabrini, visit our website at www.scalabrini.org.za
This is what one of our current teachers has to say about her experience:
I have had the privilege of volunteer teaching at Scalabrini since the beginning of this year. Volunteering is by nature rewarding and volunteers are often content with the satisfaction of being a witness to the growth and development of others. At Scalabrini there is the additional bonus of personal and professional growth for the volunteers. Volunteer workshops provide a valuable opportunity to share ideas and experiences with fellow teachers and to add to your teaching skills. It’s really satisfying being part of such a dedicated and competent team, secure in the knowledge that they are always willing to help and guide you.
I feel as though teaching at Scalabrini has brought a little of the African continent to me, providing me with the opportunity to interact with people and learn about other languages and cultures that I may otherwise not have been exposed to. I find the students eager to learn English and a pleasure to teach. It has been amazing to watch the students grow more confident by the lesson. Classes are busy and lively, and I enjoy the discussion and debate that is increasingly taking place in English.
Lynne Gleeson, Volunteer Teacher 2013
Lawrence House needs Afrikaans tutor
We are looking for a motivated and competent person that can dedicate 2 hours twice a week to assist high school learners with their Afrikaans (any day from Monday to Thursdays, 4.30 to 6.30 PM).
The tutor would assist with homework but also teach basic language skills (vocabulary lists, grammar, etc.).
If you are interested, please contact email@example.com
As summer gets closer and many of us go about our annual spring cleaning, it is the perfect opportunity to look around at items to donate to Scalabrini Centre and the communities we serve.
We are in particular need of:
- Clothing for men, babies and infants
- A second-hand sewing machine
Thank you so much for your support and interest in the centre! If you would like to donate any items, please feel free to drop them by the centre or phone us at +27(0)21 465 6433.