As mentioned in our previous blog post, we welcomed two international university students to our organisation in January. One of the young ladies is Merel, a third year Applied Psychology student from The Netherlands. Merel’s internship is with Royal Dutch Visio, our Dutch partner with whom we share the Bona uBuntu programme with, and her time was split between RSA and The Netherlands.
During Merel’s internship at NF she worked in the awareness department, with a focus on parental empowerment. During her time with us, she created content for the Foundations Facebook page, presented a 3 day parent empowerment training alongside an experienced team member from Royal Dutch Visio and also worked along side our Awareness Coordinator, Cashelle to create a community level awareness programme.
Due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus internationally Merel had to end her internship early. Although her internship was cut short the impact she made on the organisation is ever lasting. Below is a summary written by Merel about her time in South Africa.
‘I have enjoyed my time at Nkosinathi Foundation very much and I am sad that I have had to leave earlier than planned. I especially enjoyed working on the community level awareness programme and having the opportunity to interview a variety of clients from NF, the results of these interviews will be used as input for information sessions in communities.
When arriving in South Africa I was happily surprised by the big heart and big love for family and friends people have here in South-Africa, and the passion that the NF team have for their work. A highlight from my internship was being able to give a training of empowerment to the parents of visually impaired children. The training was very successful and I am proud of the openness and the inner strength of the participating parents.
Thank you NF for playing your important as an organisation. Be proud of what you have achieved together, because I’ve seen it’s hard working for a NGO in South Africa. I hope that a lot more people can be assisted by NF for rehabilitation and skills development services in the future!’
On 27th January Nkosinathi Foundation welcomed 2 international students for an internship, one of these young ladies is Julie, a Belgium student studying to become an Occupational Therapist. During Julie’s 8 week internship at NF she worked in the children’s department, assisting Robyn with the daily pre-school programme and toddlers and baby group. She also had the opportunity to observe at a well established OT practice on a weekly basis.
Julie bid the NF team and students farewell on Wednesday 18th March, and left us with a beautiful letter reflecting on her time in South Africa. Read all about her experience below:
The time I have spent in this beautiful country has flown by, meaning I unfortunately have to say goodbye.
In the past few weeks I have been able to see, experience and learn a lot. Throughout the weeks I have had the opportunity to assist Robyn in the classroom and to care for the children. The shared knowledge and experiences I have gathered throughout these two months will always be something I will look back upon. To work with visually impaired children was difficult in the beginning, especially since I was unacquainted with this field of work. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every minute of it.
During my first weeks in South Africa I searched to find the true meaning of occupational therapy and what people associated with it. I wanted to know more about how the project[Nkosinathi Foundation] viewed occupational therapy, how it was practiced and how I could add value as a student. The lovely staff and everyone I met throughout this experience made this a lot easier and I immediately found my way of working at Nkosinathi. Working at this project opened up my eyes to the challenges that children face, and it has ignited my passion even more for my work. The work that I am capable of doing allows me to form a medium where all the elements offered to the children at Nkosinathi is something meaningful. The children bring a smile to my face each day as I walk through the doors, eager to learn something new.
Alongside working with the beautiful children, I also got the opportunity to visit projects and schools committed to working and assisting children with disabilities. I was able to compare South Africa to Europe throughout these experiences, which also helped me grow as an occupational therapist as I learnt a lot of different skills that I can use in my future career. It was memorable to see how each of these projects, in their own way, are committed to the children and want to pursue making a change.
It is truly incredible to see how the children deal with their disability and how strong each individual is. I also saw this power within the parents, who always want the best for their children but sometimes do not get the opportunity to do so due to the limited availability of resources in this country.
Through this post, I would like to thank the employees at the Nkosinathi Foundation and everyone I got to meet for the incredible and educational weeks. To all the children, keep dreaming and hopefully we will meet again soon. I hope to see everyone again in the future and wish the organisation the best of luck with reaching their set goals and full potential.
It was truly an experience I never will or want to forget and cannot wait to be back!
Thank you all!
With best regards,