Intern Profile – Wian Verwoerd


Born in Stellenbosch, Wian moved to rainy old Dublin, Ireland, when he was 8, and lived there for almost 15 years. Whilst there, he completed his LL.B (hons.) in Law at Trinity College Dublin, deriving a specific interest in Refugee & Immigration Law, and Human Rights Law more generally. WV decided to phone home and is now in the process of completing his MPhil in Justice and Transformation at the University of Cape Town. Wian’s two favourite hobbies include long walks on the beach and writing clichéd endings to intern profiles.

New Intern Profile – Violet Trachtenberg


Violet will be an English School Intern for the next ten months. She just finished her undergraduate degree at Stanford University in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, an interdisciplinary course focused on systemic racism, and wrote her honors thesis about White teachers’ racial consciousness development. Violet is passionate about teaching, education equity, and community organizing for social justice. In 2015, she studied abroad in Cape Town and interned at COSAT High School in Khayelitsha. She has also taught with the Breakthrough Collaborative in San Francisco, and taught English in public schools in Santiago, Chile and Las Tablas Abajo, Panama.

Violet is originally from Portland, Oregon in the United States, and you can see her on an episode of Portlandia! Something you may not know about her is that she is a competitive slam poet. Violet is thrilled to be back in Cape Town with Scalabrini, and looking forward to engaging with the communities here.

New Intern Profile – Zaina Mahmoud


Zaina is currently a student at Michigan State University in the United States studying Sociology. Her passion for global education and working with refugees back home at the Refugee Development Center has brought her to Cape Town’s Scalibrini Centre. Zaina’s study of Sociology and previous major of global education has allowed her to understand the ways in which education takes place in today’s society. She hopes to provide a nurturing presence at the Scalibrini English school during her time.

New Intern Profile – Rachel Boring


Hailing from the United States, Rachel is currently studying at Allegheny College. Her undergraduate studies are in Psychology and Global Health Studies, focusing largely on mental health disparities. While in school, she works with a nonprofit organization that aids people with mental illnesses in building life skills, re-entering the work force, and navigating government programs. However, her interests in human rights issues are not limited to mental illness. This past semester, she took a class in Global Justice, sparking her interests in the worldwide refugee crisis. Learning about the lack of protection of basic human rights for refugees, she was encouraged to explore the issue further. She believes that her time at Scalabrini Centre will undoubtedly be an eye-opening experience, enabling her to work more personally with refugees and migrants. She is appreciative of this unique opportunity and looks forward to the coming months.

New Intern Profile – Olivia Steaban

Olivia new

Olivia is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies at DePaul University. Throughout her education she has been specifically interested in human rights issues. Olivia has been working for Human Rights Watch throughout the past year, serving as an intern in their Chicago office. She is excited about making the transition to Scalabrini, because she believes that the organization will provide her with important hands-on experience. Olivia is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to live and work in Cape Town for the next two months, as she has a break from classes. She is looking forward to this learning opportunity, and hopes to gain a better understanding of the challenges that many migrants and refugees face. Moreover, she is excited to engage with staff members and those participating in Scalabrini’s programs.

New Intern Profile – Jennifer Johnson


Hi all, I’m Jennifer Johnson, and I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in International Education Development from Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York. My particular focus is on Peace and Human Rights. Prior to this though, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Washington. There my focus was in Applied Ethics and Human Rights Issues. So, my academic interests have stayed consistent in that I have always cared very much about the need to improve the lives of others.

After my undergraduate study, I taught sixth-grade English for two years as part of the nonprofit Teach For America program. During my time as a teacher I worked predominately with disadvantaged minority students, many of whom were undocumented or came from migrant families. This experience furthered my interest and commitment to continue advocating for people from similar populations, and is in large part why I decided to pursue my master’s degree in an effort to become more effective in this field of work.

As part of my current studies, I have also developed strong interest in the role and impact of nonprofit organizations. As such, this curiosity and passion is what has now brought me to the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town’s Employment Access Programme, and I am quite excited to be here.

When I am not working or studying, I also love cooking and trying new restaurants, since I also used to work as a chef. I’m looking forward to exploring the food scene in the City Centre, as well as traveling around the countryside to explore all the diverse culinary and viniculture offerings of South Africa.

New Intern Profile – Nadja Frercksen


Hey, I am Nadja Frercksen, 22 years young and from Germany. I have joined the EAP intern team in Mid-May and so far enjoyed my time here at Scalabrini to the fullest. I graduated last summer with a Bachelor in European Studies from the University of Southern Denmark with a personal focus on EU-Africa relations. I have become quite passionate about the impact of foreign interventions in conflicts and on the influence refugee and general migration flows have on (international) politics.

I am really happy that I got the chance to become a part of the Scalabrini team and learn more about the NGO business in South Africa and more concrete about the challenges and chances that the people face when coming to Cape Town, looking for jobs. I am looking forward to the upcoming months here at Scalabrini – at the Employment Help Desk and in the workshops.

New Intern Profile – Bart Rodenberg


Hi, I am Bart Jan and I just started here at Scalabrini at the EAP program. I was born in Houston, Texas, USA but spent most of my childhood in the Netherlands, having Dutch parents. I studied at the University of Maastrichts where I obtained a Masters degree in International Business.  After the completion of my degree I went on to study Spanish in Buenos Aires.

Returning to the Netherlands I started my professional career at Young Colfied, a 2 year management traineeship program for graduates where I worked as a consultant for several companies in the Netherlands. After completing that program I started to work at CEVA Logistics, one of the biggest global logistics companies. I’ve had held several project and program oriented roles at CEVA and I’m currently taking a sabbatical from my job to work at Scalabrini as an EAP intern. I’m very much looking forward to work (and have fun) with all of you!

New Intern Profile –Maxime Bourqui



Hi, my name is Maxime, I am 23 years old and I come from Switzerland. I have freshly graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Geneva.

During my studies I learned much from a theoretical point of view on different causes of migration and problems migrants face in their integration process into a new society. Liking challenges that benefit not only me but also others I founded an NGO (Association SUD) to promote education in Senegal. Within this project, I got the opportunity to learn to carry out a project to all its aspects such as identify the needs of populations, establish goals and financial plan, raise funds, establish a relationship between the different teams between Switzerland and Senegal , negotiate with Local Authorities and ensure the sustainability of the project. This experience allowed me to see how essential it is to acquire real skills in order not only to have, but also to achieve objectives as altruistic as they can be.

Dealing with the complexity of refugees and migrant situations and providing effectively support belongs to a serious challenge which I am ready to take part. This is why I now am joining the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town as an intern in the Women’s Platform. I am glad to learn skills and to work with people who I am sure will teach me even more than I can learn.

New Intern Profile- Ruvimbo Tenga


Meet Ruvimbo Tenga, the new Human Rights LGBTI Intern. Ruvimbo has previously worked as Western Media Liaison and Lobbyist for Sweat/Sisonke. She joins the Scalabrini team to work closely with Neil, our Human Rights Officer, both passionate about human rights. She is a black feminist, and she has spoken widely and presented issues related to key populations and challenging stereotypes. She is one of the founders of the Asijiki Coalition and is also a rotating member of the Hate Crimes Working Group. Ruvimbo loves meeting people, travelling and reading, learning about new cultures, and sharing knowledge. She is involved in Scalabrini’s “Let’s face it” campaign, and if you see her around, feel free to ask her anything about human rights!