It is Friday afternoon and rhythmic beats from the downstairs lesson in traditional African drumming start filling the office of the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town. Drumming lessons is just one of the many activities that the Scalabrini Centre offers or hosts, such as assistance in acquiring a job, help toget food, clothes and find a place to stay, medical assistance, judicial support, schooling in English or IT. Furthermore, there is a sewing project, a soup kitchen, a children’s home and trauma counseling.
I started working at the Scalabrini Centre two months ago, firstly as an All-Rounder and later as an intern in the Advocacy Rights area, which I will continue with until January 2011.
Having a background in international development and African studies has given me a good foundation for my internship. But living here and being a part of the South African society with all its positives and negatives is truly a valuable experience which should be obligatory for every student in the development field. Through meetings, interviews, research, campaigning and much more, my internship has given me the opportunity to understand refugees and migrants experience of challenges in South Africa and I am very grateful and humble for experiencing this.