January 20th, 2017
Internship at ActionAid – A Brief Journal
2016 will go down as one of the best years in my life. Because the past 12 months at ActionAid have been an eye-opening experience. Truth be told, humanitarian work or, better yet, campaigning for women’s rights is something I have always been passionate about but also something I would never do. Yet, here I am, a fledgling campaigner for Safe Cities for Women.
I first became an ActionAider as a sponsorship volunteer, clueless, with nothing but a pocketful of inspiration. “Finally, I am part of something bigger, a global movement to eradicate injustice and poverty. I will work to the best of my ability to contribute no matter how small!” is what I thought to myself. Week 7: I produced a hefty amount of CMs (Child Messages) and made a few good friends. We, volunteers, are like cupids who answered the love letters on the wall of Casa di Giulietta where Romeo once wrote to Juliet. In this case, we just translate the messages and send them back to our beloved sponsors, though some are actually from Italy.
Just 4 days to Valentine’s, my internship commenced and everything changed. What was my first impression? Impressed and inspired. But also exposed – as in clueless (again) and constantly struggling to catch up and seeing the problems and the people affected by it first-hand was a revelation. It is ironic how people digest news of the daily rape cases, the inhumane land-grabs, or the violent crackdowns, and then some would go back to their normal lives while others merely complain about it as if nothing ever happened. And so, it continues. From that, I learned that people want change but they do not want to act. The second important thing I learned is Feminism. To be aware of the problem and take conscious action, that is the fundamental value feminists hold. To say “We demand more streetlights” is better than hitting the authorities with a pitchfork. In short, Feminism is about fighting violence with non-violence. But the most important thing I learned is that change starts from us. We must not wait for change to come, we raise our voices, we campaign, and we do not stop until we win.
There are so much more, countless things I have come across and the invaluable knowledge I have acquired during my time with ActionAid, but I hope this short journal serves its purpose, and would perhaps, inspire new interns and newcomers alike. To my fellow ActionAiders, thank you.