Experience development and culture in the heart of India – Jennifer Vibert
If you are looking to expand your understanding of international development issues, gain some hands-on experience in development, and have a fantastic cultural learning experience, then consider participating in an internship with SOPAR/Bala Vikasa in Warangal, India.
SOPAR, a Canadian company, and Bala Vikasa, an organization working on the ground in India, jointly focus on development in India with an aim of changing the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people.
As an intern at Bala Vikasa, I was able to gain firsthand experience in Community-Driven Development (CDD), which focuses on “helping communities help themselves”, and emphasizes the importance of the community’s participation in its own development. I learned about this development strategy in Bala Vikasa’s special People Development Training Centre, which educates people from all over the world in CDD. I was able to experience these strategies at work, through observing and participating in some of the organization’s programs in the local community.
I can tell you firsthand that the internship was one of the most eye-opening and inspiring activities that I have ever experienced, and marked a turning point in my life and my career goals. The benefit of learning while actually in the development environment is incredible, and so different from studying in a classroom in Canada. I was working alongside people from many different countries – Ethiopia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria – who are already professionals in their field, and I learned about their unique and diverse traditions!
This month-long internship is open to both post-secondary students and professionals in the development field, and students are even eligible to get post-secondary credits for their participation! SOPAR is extremely helpful in terms of arrangements for both travel and visa requirements, and provides you with accommodation and travel arrangements while in India.
All in all, this internship is a fantastic experience and is guaranteed to broaden your horizons, and will help open your eyes to the situation of many people in India and around the world, while showing you how you can be involved in helping them help themselves to a better present and future!
Jennifer Vibert, SOPAR Intern