While the typical intern may be tasked with making coffees or photocopying, I have found my experience as the new Arrupe Intern at JRS to be nothing of the sort. The atmosphere has been very welcoming and the work so interesting, that after less than 2 months – I already feel as though I have learned so much.
Having previously volunteered and worked with refugees in Greece, I was looking for a position where I could gain further insight into the workings behind an organisation that supported asylum seekers and refugees – whether that be through fundraising, communication or providing vital services to refugees.
The Arrupe internship is a unique opportunity in that it offers the chance to explore all of those areas. I spend nearly half of my time working with the Communications and Fundraising Team, where I have learnt how to edit the website, post on social media and even use PhotoShop! The other half is spent with the Destitution Team, where I have so far supported the hardship grants given to our refugee friends and building a directory of services offered by other organisations. I have even helped to organise the London Legal Walk, as our staff, volunteers and refugee friends walked 10km across central London to fundraise for our newly established legal advice service.
42 incredible people walked 10KM across London on 17th June to raise funds for our Legal Advice Service – visit our fundraising page to learn more about why they were walking and sponsor their efforts.
But perhaps the highlight of my week is “Day Centre Day”. Every Thursday, we welcome our refugee friends to the centre for a hot meal, a small travel grant and of course, a listening ear. I have met people from a wide range of backgrounds living in difficult circumstances – some are uncertain where they will find accommodation, while others have been waiting years to be recognised as a refugee. Yet despite these hardships, it is always refreshing to see our friends smiling or sharing a joke at the Day Centre!
Nonetheless, my experience so far has not been confined to either the Destitution or Communications and Fundraising Team. Every member of staff, from the staff within the Legal Team to the coordinator of the accommodation ‘At Home’ Hosting Scheme, have taken the time to explain their area of expertise to me, allowing me to delve into areas that are not my own. I have even had the opportunity to go with the Detention Team to Harmondsworth IRC, witnessing first-hand how the team offers a wide range of support ranging from one-to-one visits with detainees, to liaising with their solicitors.
All round, through this internship I have not only gained a full picture of the diverse work JRS does, but also an insight into the UK’s asylum system and how the hostile environment policy renders many asylum seekers destitute. It has been a truly eye opening and fulfilling experience so far.
Inspired by Jasmine’s experience? We’ll be recruiting for the next Arrupe Intern in the next few weeks – keep an eye on our jobs page in the coming weeks!