I’m nearing the end of the first week of my internship, and I couldn’t be happier! SCOOP is a very small, young nonprofit, with only a few people in the office at a time. I’m working primarily with the development team and directly with the CEO of the organization, but I have already been able to take on a lot of responsibility. Katherine, a girl who just graduated from Trinity College here, and I are taking the lead on a brand new project to link Irish schools with the schools in Cambodia and India. In this effort, we hope to help the kids in those countries with their English skills while simultaneously educating the Irish children about global poverty and other issues. I remember having pen pals when I was younger with a school in Japan; however, my bosses who grew up in Ireland said they were never exposed to anyone else in the world as they grew up in the Irish school system. While I probably won’t be able to see the full launch of this program in the time I am here, we hope to lay the base organization and get it completely set up to begin when school resumes.
We are currently fundraising to build a new school in a new location in Varanasi, India– further outside the slums to get the children out of the worst areas. Yesterday, we held interviews for a new teaching volunteer to send over to India when the current teacher departs in August. I had the opportunity to hear first hand what the atmosphere is like in Varanasi from Andy, the CEO. The current school doubles as a hostel and a school. The children with the most need and at the most risk also live at the school full time. It was inspiring to hear the effect the current teacher is having on the lives of these kids. She is not only their teacher but also their mother, caregiver, and full support system as almost all of their families are homeless in the lowest caste of society. Fathers often try to sell their kids for money for their next alcohol or drug purchase. Throughout the interviews, my bosses made it clear that it was not an easy transition into such an environment and they are looking for someone to be there for at least 9 months in order to get acclimated and build the greatest bonds with the children. I’m not sure if I could handle it there, but I am so impressed and thankful for those who can stomach it.
I’m hoping that fundraising is successful this summer, so the new school–which will about double in size–will be able to be built and start expanding its reach to more and more children. We have a few events this summer for fundraising, the next one being an art auction. I’m currently working on the PR for this event, trying to get the best turnout possible in order to raise as much money as we can for these children.