I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy ~Rabindranath Tagore
ABOUT INTERNING WITH UKULAPHA COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Currently, the Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA), which is one of the recipients of GAC funding for IYIP, has partnered with Ukulapha. This partnership sees groups of interns coming from Canada to assist in Ukulapha’s message of healing by providing psychosocial support for children at underprivileged schools within the township of Slangspruit in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The current interns are based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa where Ukulapha has made home, and they will be here until mid-July, where they will be replaced by the next group of bright and eager interns. Slangspruit Township is on the edge of the city of Pietermaritzburg, which means that the interns are able to drive through parts of the township on their way to work.
Our hope here at Ukulapha is to continue participating in this program, in part due to the fantastic experiences that the interns will have, but primarily for the impact that the interns will have on the students’ at Slangspruit Primary. Building on this, the internship programme also allows those in the host organizations/countries to learn more about Canada and Canadian culture. This ensures that learning is a two-way street, with mutual learning from interns and hosts. This also means that the learners’ at Slangspruit will also be learning about Canada from the interns.
Paving the way for future interns was Natasha, a practicum student at the University of Victoria in the Department of Child and Youth Care. She was a wonderful addition to the Ukulapha family for the three months she was here in 2011. Two years later, in 2013 Ukulapha received its first wave of interns from VIDEA in the form of a pair of fantastic interns Addy and Nasra and now, in 2016, Ukulapha has received its second wave of interns. However, this time there are four, which will repeat later this year, as the third wave of interns will also have four members. In doing so, they will be able to provide unique and interesting view points and solutions that will enable Ukulapha to continue growing and continuing our commitment to engaging with the local communities and with the students at Slangspruit Primary School.
Hi, I’m Alex, one of six new interns at Ukulapha here in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. I am so excited to have the opportunity to work as a Youth Development Worker at Slangspruit Public Primary School. The children are so vibrant and their energy is contagious. I am just thrilled to be spending the next 6 months with them.
In December 2015, I graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. I majored in Political Science and minored in Sociology. My interests have always guided me toward international relations and matters of social justice and inequality. Nearing the end of my degree I became increasingly interested in political economy and the politics of development. I am so unbelievably grateful for the opportunity to work in Slangspruit and finally put theory into practice.
On a more personal note, I’ve always been told that I have childlike enthusiasm. I love to play and have fun. I have always had a hard time sitting still and like to keep busy so I am always looking to try something new. That’s probably how I ended up in South Africa.
Sanibonani! My name is Claire and I am pleased to have the opportunity to intern as a school-based Social Worker at Ukulapha and to be immersed in Slangspruit School. I am a recent graduate of Laurier's Master of Social Work Aboriginal Field of Study program in Kitchener, Ontario. Originally, I am from Kettleby, Ontario which is located within the Greater Toronto Area.
Previously, I have worked in the areas of community food security projects, maternal health, crisis work with families, and working with on-campus services to provide culturally congruent and wholistic programming for Indigenous university students.
My interest in working with children, youth and families started when I began volunteering with a community-based agency, Green Thumbs Growing Kids, in the St. Jamestown neighbourhood of Toronto. Working and learning with children, youth and families through growing, harvesting, cooking food within an educational capacity in an incredibly diverse neighbourhood was a tremendously meaningful experience that illustrated how food is a powerful way of connecting with people. Since this experience my interest of learning about communities, cultures, identity, and food has grown and provided a pathway for many diverse experiences which continue to unfold. I am pleased to intern at Ukulapha and to learn more about the Slang community through connecting with local community leaders to organize workshops, girls and boys groups, and providing support for learners wherever possible.
Hi my name is Omara Hussaini. I am extremely excited about this amazing opportunity to work for Ukulapha at Slangspruit Primary School as Youth Development Worker. My goal for this internship will be to gain experience working internationally but also to pursue my passion for community development. Ukulapha’s mission to empower the communities living in impoverished townships is an incredible endeavor and I am excited to be part of it.
This internship not only feeds my desire to work internationally but it is directly in line with the topic I have devoted my studies to for the past four years. I graduated from the University of Calgary with Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and this sparked my interest in international development.
My experience working with diverse populations and providing community outreach resources for disadvantaged populations in Canada will be a key skill I will utilize while working in South Africa. Previously I worked as Cultural Broker for Child Family Services in Calgary and in this position I supported refugees and immigrants during crisis situations and provided services that would address their complex needs. I have also worked at a community resource centre where I was part of community capacity building and youth development projects. My previous experiences have given me the drive and passion to work with vulnerable individuals to make small changes at the community level; I am glad to expand this experience by working at the international level.
Over the next 6 months I am excited about being pushed out of my comfort zone and exploring another culture. Through this experience I know I will be become a better global citizen and have a deeper understanding of the world around me.
Hello friends, my name is Randa and I’m grateful to share a piece of my story with you. I am both delighted and humbled that I was chosen to intern with Ukulapha as a Resource Mobilization Coordinator. A big aspect of why I wanted to do this internship was to connect the missing dots of my African heritage; and although I'm thousands of miles away from Sudan and Egypt, being on the continent and immersing myself in the local culture has been illuminating. I applied for this position in specific because in the past I have been involved in development projects (in Bolivia), but the organization I volunteered with took a charity approach which ultimately was not sustainable. Before giving up on the development sector altogether, I figured I would give it one more try. This time, I decided to get involved with an organization that takes a human rights approach to development.
I have a College Diploma in Creative Advertising and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, with a focus on Public Relations. After graduating, I found myself applying for meaningless work that made me re-asses my global responsibility as a custodian of our shared planet. I did some research and discovered this incredible internship program, where I could apply my skills in social media communications and public relations for work that is important and necessary.
This my third internship to date, but I count it as the most significant one yet. Being the daughter of Africans who took refuge in Canada, I am honoured to be interning on the continent, representing Canada’s international development efforts here in South Africa. My knowledge, experience and skills combined with my love for my home continent and my convictions for being a responsible global citizen makes this internship with Ukulapha a defining moment in my future career in communications for social change.
Working in South Africa with Ukulapha is an old dream coming true. I am excited to find out what international development is all about and hopefully make a positive contribution to the work Ukulapha is involved in.
I am a graduate of the School of Social Work, UBC with an emphasis on child welfare. For the last eight years I have been working and volunteering with immigrants, families and marginalized communities. Most of my work has been with youth at risk in Vancouver, Canada and Central America. I have also worked as an English teacher in Thailand, which allowed me to experience the educational system from a different perspective. In the last few years I have also developed an interest in environmental sustainability, food security and health.
I am curious to interconnect all the interests mentioned above and incorporate them in an alternative education system. What drives me is the curiosity of discovering cultures and languages and the love for all beings.
I am striving for a world where differences will unite us and not separate us and I hope that my experience at Ukulapha will bring invaluable learning opportunities
Hi, I'm Linda and I'm excited to be a part of the Ukulapha Community Outreach Project, where I'll be a Teaching Assistant at Slangspruit Primary School. I'm passionate about international development and education, and this internship combines the two!
My parents are Vietnamese refugees who fled Vietnam to escape the cycle of poverty. Shortly after being born in a refugee camp in Hong Kong, my family and I moved to Canada. I’m incredibly fortunate to grow up in Canada, especially as a woman. If I grew up in Vietnam I wouldn’t have the same opportunities as I have had in Canada. With the realization of this privilege, I want to contribute my knowledge and experience to support Ukulapha’s goals of improving the learning conditions at Slangspruit.
I graduated from the University of British Columbia, with a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Relations. I studied issues such as the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, mistreatment of minority migrant workers, power dynamics between international political organizations, etc. Studying these topics gives me a deeper understanding of the challenges in international development.
Prior to this internship, I was an ESL Instructor in Seoul, South Korea. I prepared lesson plans to teach non-native English speakers. I lead classes and encourage them to use their English skills. In class discussions, I facilitated a cultural exchange with the students. We developed an understanding of each other’s cultures, and I learned about their life experiences. I’m incredibly excited to work with the students and to learn more about the Zulu culture and their lives!
Hello, my name is Bryan Emery and I am a current intern at Ukulapha through the International Youth Internship Programme. I grew up on Vancouver Island, which is in British Columbia, Canada, which is also where I studied for university. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria in June 2015, with a Double Major in Political Science and Sociology. On a more personal note, my main hobbies include soccer and reading, and I like the colour blue.
Most of my work experience has involved sitting behind a desk and pouring over endless spreadsheets, mostly with the University of Victoria. However, I have also volunteered with ‘older’ youth, those being new university students. This was in my capacity as a Student Leader/Orientation Leader as part of the Orientation Team at UVic. There we led students on guided tours of the campus, attended events and blogged about our experiences as students at the university. In part, this also meant that we responding to new students’ (and their parents) concerns about coming to university for the first time, and what it would be like.
I am still fresh on the ground here in South Africa, so my experiences are still being moulded, and I am not sure what to expect just yet.
Hi there, my name is Brynn Spelliscy and I am a current intern, fresh on the ground from a town near Vancouver called White Rock.
I am very excited to be here working with Ukulapha at Slangspruit Primary School for the next 6 months as a Youth Development Worker! I completed my Bachelor of Art Degree in International Studies with a focus on Comparative World Politics, Culture and Society at Simon Fraser University in 2013, and have since been working with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. What led me to apply for this internship is my interest in getting experience in the field of development, as well as my previous experiences of working with youth.
I have been volunteering and a leader for an international youth based NGO called CISV for over a decade, and my experience with the organization has brought me across Canada as well as the world. My experiences include being the leader of the Canadian delegation to an international youth summer programme in Denmark, as well as being part of the staff for a youth leadership programmes in Nova Gorica, Slovenia and Vancouver. I’m excited to share my knowledge and skills that I’ve garnered over the years, and am eager to soak in all that I can learn from the students and the community of Slangspruit.
My name is Emanuela Bringi, I am a South Sudanese from Egypt who was raised in Canada. Growing up I was always involved in different community programs that promoted leadership in the lives of youth and the empowerment of one another. I have experience working in priority communities doing after school programs, writing funding proposals, organizing community gatherings and sports tournaments.
I also have a diverse work experience which keeps me open for any challenge that comes my way. I've taught classes during Black History Month and organized assemblies for a whole high school student body. Additionally, I've studied Social Service Work - Immigrant and Refugees at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario and then continued on to study Multicultural and Indigenous Studies at York University also in Toronto.
I chose to apply for this internship so that I can get on ground experience in the work that I want to practice as my career. I would like to work in priority communities as a Social Worker and potentially earn a masters in urban education so that I could teach in priority communities. I was raised in a neighborhood that required much social support; growing up in that environment it taught me how to appreciate what I have and to do what I can to better the lives of other young people living in the same situation that I did.
South Africa was the perfect location, I would be working with Ukulapha serving as Youth Development Worker and Social Worker for youth in the townships. Not only was I going to be in the country where my Idol Nelson Mandela is from, but I would be doing exactly what I've wanted to do my whole life; priority community, teach, youth and social services, literally everything.
I've currently been on the ground for 1 month. I am loving the spirit of the children I work with and I have no doubt that I will learn more from them than they will from me. I see children/ youth and community members who are powerful beyond their knowledge, I am honored to be in their presence.
Hey, I'm Russell, a new intern with Ukulapha here in Pietermaritzburg. I recently arrived from Victoria, Canada where I am part way through my MEd in Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria. I am originally from North Vancouver, British Columbia.
I am eager to work with Ukulapha at the Slangspruit Public Primary School for the next six months. The school is such a vibrant place and I can't wait to see the students continue to grow and develop this year!
My previous role was Program Director at Camp Goodtimes, the Canadian Cancer Society's pediatric oncology camp in British Columbia. For three summers I organized and facilitated programming for children, youth, and families at the beautiful Loon Lake in Maple Ridge, BC. I also have experience tutoring math at elementary, high school, and university levels and creating and leading youth programs through a community centre in West Vancouver.
I chose this internship as it fits very well with my past experience and future goals of working within the community. Therefore to have an opportunity to work with Ukulapha in South Africa, I can't imagine a more incredible privilege!
Who am I?
My Name is Natasha Dalziel and I grew up with my twin sister and my older sister. My mother raised us to be kind and compassionate towards others and loved us to the best of her ability. I now reside with my husband Dallas and my precious love of all, my dog, Mehka in my hometown Port Alberni BC. I have a true passion for human connectedness and the well being of others. I work in human services supporting children and families to reach their fullest potential by developing relationships and being authentic, empathetic and compassionate. My other passions are running, yoga, paddle boarding and spending time in nature with my dog.
Why did I do a practicum with Ukulapha?
I completed my Bachelors of Arts in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. During my 3rd year I knew I was interested in doing a practicum overseas. In that moment I didn’t know where but I knew I had to explore my options. I really wanted to understand what this “pull” was about with regards to completing my final practicum overseas. I wanted to take part on a global level. I had done lots of work in my own community in my area, but for some reason my heart was yearning elsewhere. I wanted to learn how to build relationships cross culturally learn about another country and learn how cross culturally and globally I would make a difference by showing up and offering my true authentic self. I wanted to push myself professionally and personally. I honestly had no expectations. Was I scared? Completely! But all I knew is that when I first spoke with Carolyn over Skype I had another tug at my heart. When Carolyn told her story, I was amazed at the work she was doing and the relationships she had made with Slangspruit community and school. It is through the various connections that Carolyn has made locally and globally, which has made all the support possible. Here was this woman who was really following her heart, showing up and doing the work to support individuals who experience history of hardship. I recognized I want to do that too!
What did I take away from my experience with Ukulapha project?
I met some of the most incredible people while being part of the Ukulapha project. The hardest part was leaving the relationships I had built while I was there. I learnt so much from my time in South Africa and it forever will be a part of who I am. Many of the children shared their stories of success, struggles and hardships and I feel it was such a privilege for them to allow me into their lives. I enjoyed facilitating reading groups and discussing different topics around bullying, friendship and respect. The children taught me so much about gratitude and love. I have learned that we are all connected and what I do in my own environment matters, and has a ripple effect on a greater level. It is through relationship that change occurs. I was Ukulapha’s first practicum student; therefore, the idea of my presence was “new” so finding ways to utilize my skills was an original concept. In that moment I did not believe that I was really doing anything or truly making a difference. However, by listening and being there, I had more of an impact than I realized. The most powerful part of my presence was that it opened the door for the project to have two interns come and be part of the Ukulapha project and Slangspruit School for six months. Since I have been there not only have they had 2 new interns but also a container has been added with computers and a space for a learning/homework club. I am excited for the following opportunities this valuable project will continue to unfold.
My name’s Addy Treleaven and I interned as a Youth Development Worker for Ukulapha from June until December in 2013. To this day, those 6 months I spent in Pietermaritzburg were probably the best of my life.
I grew up in Victoria, BC and attended the University of Victoria where I studied Geography. After finishing my undergrad, I developed a passion for youth work after spending 4 months volunteering in Jamaica as an elementary school teacher. When I returned from overseas, I continued working with vulnerable students through roles with the Boys and Girls Club, Shoreline Community School and volunteering at the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Society.
When I first found the posting to work in South Africa with Ukulapha, I was a bit hesitant to complete the application. My life was in a great place and pursuing something because it would be ‘good for my career’ had never really been a drive for me. As I read more about VIDEA, Ukulapha, and the details of the placement though, I realized that this internship would not so much be about teaching others and showing off my youth experience, it was instead much more so a unique opportunity for me to learn. With this epiphany, I decided to apply.
I had an incredibly positive experience in South Africa. If there’s one thing I remember before anything else, it’s that the people I met across the country, particularly those in Slangspruit Township, mirrored the beauty and openness of the landscape. They really made an awkward Canadian feel at home for the six months I lived there.
The internship itself was everything I could have hoped for. Each morning, my coworker Nasra (another Ukulapha intern) and I travelled to Slangspruit Primary School where we would spend the day teaching a variety of subjects for students in grades 5, 6 and 7. On top of these lessons, I also lead classes in the new computer lab, helped manage the school library, started an after school homework club, lead an after school sports program and counselled and supported students that sometimes needed to be connected to social workers. The days were often exhausting but I came home most evenings with the feeling that I was doing work that I had always dreamed of. The student’s desire to learn and be at school, something I had never quite witnessed before, was apparently infectious.
Fast forward to today and I’ve still got that learning bug the Slangspruit students left me with. I’m currently studying to be a Teacher at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and hope to one day be working as a high school counsellor. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing but it wasn’t until my experience at Ukulapha that I finally felt the ‘push’ to actually go and do it. I wouldn’t even call it a ‘push’ anymore actually. It’s definitely a ‘pull.’
My life's dream has been to participate in change in the Continent of Africa, though more particularly in Eastern Africa, through empowerment and development of youth and children. While in South Africa, working in the township of Pietermartizburg, South Africa with Ukulapha, I supported the educational endeavors of secularized children in the primary school. This was a hands-on experience, complete with participation in their personal lives. My role and responsibilities in this role led me to co-develop programming, as well as create-and-adapt as situations demanded, on a daily basis.
I gained a closer view of the country’s economic, social and political issues. That experience enabled me to write about one of the biggest ongoing violences - Xenophobia. In researching the facts and the sentiments of such an era, I interviewed and conversed with the locals, providing an insight that enriches my understanding of the many levels of the systemic issues of South Africa people, as well as the path that had been shaped for other Africans escaping nearby countries and coming to South Africa.
This topic had a strong resonance for me, as I am of Somalian-descent. In that regards, war and conflict are no strangers as it was in the 11th year of a brutal civil war in Somalia that my family resolved to exile itself. As a child of an immigrant family that settled in Eastern Canada then came West to British Columbia, this experience brings me closer to what is also lived on the continent of Africa. It only strengthens my dream of being a bridge to a more peaceful, meaningful world for all.