Felicia, Intern at Kudumbam
Location : Kudumbam in India, Tamil Nadu
Why did you apply for the Future Earth internship program? I applied because I am interested in the world and find it exciting to see how non-profit organizations work at the grassroots level. I have a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology and psychology, and I am curious and interested in how people live and work in different places in the world, and what makes sense to them. I have traveled some parts in Asia before and therefore it was attractive to go to India.
What did you do as an intern? As an intern at Kudumbam, I got to work in a lot of different areas. Some days I sat in the office working on social media to spread the knowledge I had acquired, other days I took part in the field work to see how farmers work with the drought and other complicated problems and sometimes I went to Kolunji farm and played with the children who live there. I always felt that I could ask to do things or to go on excursions – those at the organization were very nice to me and they wanted us should learn as much as possible, often on our own terms.
What do you bring from your time as an intern? That all people do their best to have a good life, in India as in Sweden. Whether it’s about doing it by working for women’s rights or fighting for a better environment. The people I have met here in India are so passionate about what they care about, and are fully committed to creating change even though it can be controversial. It was inspring to be part and see the change. I also learned a lot more about organic farming. I knew some before I came to India, but by being on the spot and by experiencing it with my own eyes to see how the farmers work and to hear how problematic it is with fertilizers and various chemicals, both for the soil, the crops and the farmers, has given be a greater insight into this.
Alexander, intern at CIRHEP
Location : The CIRHEP organization in India
Background: Since high school, I have worked for several years and then completed the bachelor’s program in journalism. In the meantime, I have tried to see as much of the world as possible.
Why did you apply for the Future Earth internship program? After completing my university studies, I pondered what I wanted to do. I did not want to make fast news but in some way try to fight for positive change in the world. When I heard about the internship program, it felt like a step in the right direction.
What do you bring from your time as an intern? From my time as an intern in southern India, I bright with myself a great deal of joy, new knowledge and a whole new view on the climate issue. It is not an easy transition to go from the fast life in Stockholm to the countryside in India, but once I managed it it was absolutely fantastic. As an intern at CIRHEP, I really got to be a part of the village. The social is an important aspect when you come to such a new place and both the staff at the organization and the residents in the area were very keen that I would not feel like an outsider in any way. During much of the time in the beginning, people depend on different people in the organization to learn, which can range from very rewarding to bizarre. For me and my travel companion, the challenge was to find a way for the organization to benefit from our knowledge. We succeeded after a series of meetings and making the film we did for CIRHEP was an incredible experience.
What is your best tip for someone considering applying for the internship program? I can definitely recommend the internship program! My tip for future interns is to not be afraid to come up with your own ideas on what your role should include. You will surely have a lot of knowledge that they could benefit from. Dare to ask what they need! That being said, don’t miss the chance to learn as much as you can, the people at CIRHEP was some of the most inspiring people I have ever met!