Nisha Bhat, 2014, Undeclared

I was an intern at IkamvaYouth, a township-based nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa. IkamvaYouth aims to equip disadvantaged youth with the ­resources and skills necessary to access higher education and/or employment. I assisted in ­organizing and ­running the organization’s annual Winter School—a two-week program that ­provides learners with tutoring sessions, career development workshops, and HIV/AIDS ­education and testing. I contacted local organizations and universities willing to ­partner with ­IkamvaYouth as well as facilitated environmental sustainability classes. I also assisted in collecting data that will eventually be used to evaluate ­IkamvaYouth’s ­effectiveness in ­assisting learners to achieve future financial stability. Through this ­internship, I was able to better understand the role of educational NGOs in economic development. The leaders and learners of IkamvaYouth were enthusiastic and dynamic, and I learned a great deal during my time there. This internship truly opened my eyes to the many obstacles to education that youth in townships face, and I learned how nonprofit organizations like IkamvaYouth attempt to eliminate these obstacles.