Testimonials and feedback from 2020 remote volunteers

Volunteer with ActionAid

I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work remotely for ActionAid India last summer. It was very exciting to delve closely into the work of development NGOs, and while the internship may have been virtual, it was easy to get through video calls of the friendly and supportive nature of the staff in the Urban and Labour department! A virtual internship also meant I was able to work in an independent but focused manner, producing a literature review on the negative impacts of Smart City development projects on local communities. It was interesting to deeply explore this social issue, and my research involved attending webinars where journalists and activists discussed and challenges the undemocratic and marginalising nature of local development, as well as exploring news stories and charity reports. This allowed me to get a close insight into fascinating and important political and social issues that I was previously unaware of, while also contributing to a larger report with the hopes of bringing about advocacy and policy reform. Overall, the experience was highly rewarding despite working remotely, and I am sure ActionAid will continue to provide exciting and dynamic virtual internships in 2021.

Volunteer with ORF

I thoroughly enjoyed my virtual internship at the ORF. During my time I have written event reports, commentaries, and a longer-format ‘issue brief’. In each instance, the ORF gave me the flexibility to pursue research areas I was interested in and allowed me to work independently. During the internship I not only gained specific policy insight, but I have also massively improved my writing skills. Overall, having work published by one of India’s most prestigious think tanks has been hugely satisfying!

Volunteer with SEWA

My virtual placement with SEWA in 2020 was a rare highlight in a challenging summer! Over the 8-week placement, my role involved writing a narrative report summarising SEWA’s journey over the course of 2014-2020 supporting domestic workers across India to fight for their recognition and rights. I found the work extremely interesting and valuable; through it, I was able to learn a lot about not only the struggles of informal and migrant female domestic workers, but also how SEWA as a trade union has developed to support them in numerous holistic ways (from education about their rights, to training for supplementary forms of employment, to organising marches and political events to raise awareness). Alongside writing the report, I was also given the opportunity to attend numerous online events run by the International Domestic Workers’ Foundation and the International Labour Organisation which gave me an insight into the importance and power of SEWA’s international connections, particularly in the fight for ratification of ILO Convention 189. I gained an enormous respect for the work of the SEWA team, and was so grateful to be welcomed so warmly into the organisation despite the challenging situation globally and the rapid shift to online working. I would wholeheartedly recommend this internship to anyone interested in learning more about intersectional gender and class inequalities in India, the internal organisation of a national trade union, or the management of large-scale empowerment and educational projects. I can’t thank SEWA Kerala and Camvol enough for the opportunity.

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