Cape Town Human Rights Internships
Cape Town | South Africa
South Africa-014 | Print This Position Description
South Africa is home to one of the world's most liberal constitutions and at the very heart-and-soul of this nation's new Constitution is the defense of every individual's basic human rights. Apartheid left deep cultural scars in South Africa and the new government is still working to purge society of prejudice, xenophobia, gender inequality, poverty and racism. Cape Town is home to the South African Parliament and as a result, there are many wonderful NGOs and government organizations based in and around the city that promote the causes of social justice and human rights. The Cape Town Human Rights Internship is an individualized placement where you are placed in an internship that best suits your professional interests and experience. Note: This internship site replaces the Cape Town Refugee Centre and includes the Refugee Centre as an option.
About the Organization
The following organizations are examples of the organizations you may be placed at through this internship, however, there are many other options as well. If one of these organizations, in particular, interests you, you may address your application materials towards that particular organization. If you don’t have a particular favorite, or none of these are exactly in line with your interests, you may prepare a general application and the IE3 team will recommend a placement for you. A clearly-written, detailed “Individualized Placement Statement,” part of the application process, will enable us to place you in a suitable organization.
The Cape Town Refugee Centre
The Cape Town Refugee Centre is an NGO that strives to improve the quality of life of refugees by meeting their basic needs on a short-term basis and enabling them to become self-reliant and self sufficient through programs in education, counseling and therapy, entrepreneurship and job creation. The centre is not a refugee camp and does not operate one. In South Africa, refugees are given the support needed to operate within South African society.
Interns at the Refugee Centre work in a combination of three areas. 1) Psycho-Social Intervention: Interns are involved in screening refugees to determine whether they have legitimate needs and to direct them for further support. Interns may also assist support groups and counseling sessions, and administer food vouchers. 2) Educational Services: Tasks and responsibilities may include enrolling refugee children in local schools and arranging after-school activities, enrolling students in English courses and ensuring school fees have been paid. 3) Business Administration: Assisting with daily administrative tasks and budgeting. Interns in this position will also be involved in preparing and submitting grant applications and other appeals for funding.
The South African Media and Gender Institute:
The South African Media and Gender Institute (SAMGI) is an NGO dedicated to promoting grassroots activism through gender advocacy, media production and advocacy. SAMGI promotes human rights by increasing the range of voices heard in Southern Africa through participatory education, advocacy, lobbying and media production to improve the status of women.
Interns at SAMGI work within the Women’s Media Watch department working alongside a team of passionate South Africans who are devoted to advancing women’s causes through the media. Women's Media Watch focuses on using the media to deepen democracy and entrench gender equity, to produce and distribute media that acts as a forum for South African citizens and portrays positive images of women and men. The program also monitors and researches the media to provide empirical data on gender in the media. This is a research-intensive internship that also engages interns in the daily political/gender discourse taking place within South African society.
Overall, candidates for this position are expected to have strong writing and research skills.
The Treatment Action Campaign
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is an internationally acclaimed HIV/AIDS advocacy organization that was named by The New York Times in 2006 as “the world’s most effective AIDS group.” TAC advocates for increased access to treatment, care and support services for people living with HIV. In addition, TAC campaigns to reduce new HIV infections, and advocates for a better and more equitable public health system in South Africa. With more than 16,000 members and 267 branches, TAC has become the leading civil society force behind comprehensive health care services for people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. It is probably the most prominent and high-profile civil organization in all of South Africa, and has served as the inspiration for the development of like-minded organizations across the world.
Interns work with the dedicated and energetic staff at TAC’s National Office in Cape Town. They have a wide range of responsibilities including research; writing articles, policy papers, and submissions; fundraising; assisting with legal-related work, such as affidavits; logistical planning, including the facilitation of meetings and teleconferences; administrative work; and more.
Applicants are expected to have relevant coursework and excellent researching and writing skills.
Job responsibilities will vary depending on placement and may include direct client service provision, research, advocacy, grant-writing, teaching, etc. Please describe in your "Individualized Placement Statement" any specific skills that you would like to learn or apply in your internship.
Students interested in issues of social sustainability may find this internship of interest.
# of Positions per term
Multiple positions at different organizations
Duration of Internship
Psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, social services, business and non-profit administration, accounting, finance, education
All interns are expected to have an open mind and willingness to work and interact with marginalized populations.
English. Interns with French, Arabic and Swahili will greatly improve communication in placements working with refugee populations.
Additional qualifications vary by organization and may include writing and research, client service, public speaking, etc.
Total costs vary depending on how long you plan to be abroad, where you will be living, your personal spending habits, and current exchange rates. The following estimates will give you a ballpark figure for this internship. Get help with the math from our handy Cost Calculator.
ALL ESTIMATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
IE3 Program Fee
The IE3 program fee is $3450 for the first term for both in-state and out-of-state students and $1000 for each additional term, regardless of credit earned. You do not pay tuition for the term(s) you are abroad. Visit your University's IE3 page for details, costs for additional terms, and campus administrative fees.
Estimated One-Time Expenses
|Host Site Fees||
An additional fee of $2270 applies to this program, and covers accommodation, airport transfers, local orientation, internship management, 24-hour local support, and placement.
|International Travel||$2000 round trip from Portland to Cape Town, South Africa|
*See Additional Cost Information below.
Estimated Monthly Expenses
|Housing||Included in host site fee|
|Local Transportation||$100-$200, varies by placement|
Additional Expense Information
Accommodation: Interns will be accommodated in private student-oriented housing in the Observatory neighborhood. Interns will have a fully-furnished private room, kitchen and laundry facilities, 24-hour security and wireless internet connection. (Shared rooms are occasionally available at a lower cost.) Accommodation and local support is provided by Volunteer Adventure Corps. Interns will need to pay a 2000 Rand (approx $300) refundable housing deposit upon arrival in South Africa.
Cost of Living: Interns should plan to spend $300-$350/month for food, entertainment and personal expenses. Included in the Personal Supplies estimate are costs for cell phone and internet usage as well as a monthly contribution to household electrical service.
Note: Students who have participated in Africa internships have suggested that interns may want to bring additional money so that they may participate more in uniquely African activities, such as visits to game parks, buying local clothing and crafts, contributing to local organizations, and bringing home gifts for friends and family. Therefore, depending on your interests, you may want to budget additional funds.
Interns will be living in Observatory, and will be supported by local host organization Volunteer Adventure Corps. Observatory, or “Obz” as locals call it, is one of the most exciting student neighborhoods in all of Cape Town. It features an eclectic sundry of nightspots and restaurants, and an atmosphere that is surprisingly cosmopolitan given its intimate size. Much of this unique vibe is attributed to the presence of many international visitors. It is not uncommon to overhear conversations in several different languages while walking along the street. Yet, Obz is also intrinsically South African. Living in Obz and experiencing its cultural and political vibes will help interns better understand, on a greater scale, the complexities of the “new” South Africa.
Observatory is popular among the international student/ volunteer community because it is located halfway between the city center and the False Bay coastline. Visitors have an endless selection of outdoor activities to choose from, such as hiking, surfing, scuba diving, golfing, outdoor concerts and wine tasting. Cape Town is surrounded by oceans and is home to many beautiful beaches! The city centre, known to Capetonians as the “bowl”, is the ideal place to go on cultural excursions.
Below is the story of Zola Collins, UO student who interned at this site in Spring of 2012.
Following are additional student-produced videos about the internship opportunities in Cape Town through the IE3 program.
Field Notes Postings:
My Hope in Cape Town, South Africa by Kelly Smith: University of Montana student (April 3, 2012).
Ndiwelimilambo Enamagama by Kelly Smith: University of Montana student and IE3 Scholarship recipient interning with Individualized Internships in Cape Town, South Africa (December 29, 2011).
A Mzungu in Kriminini, Kenya by Megan Meyer: University of Oregon student and IE3 Scholarship recipient interning with individualized internships in Kenya (November 17, 2011).
It's the little differences... by Aaron Beerman: IE3 Scholarship Recipient and University of Oregon student interning with Cape Town Refugee Center in South Africa (November 10, 2011).
Cape Town’s Robben Island: An Emblem of Change? by Aaron Beerman: IE3 Scholarship Recipient and University of Oregon student.