Tag Archives: Intern Fridays

Expectations & Experience: Elle’s mid-term research experience.

Let me introduce myself; my name is Elle de Jong and I am a student from Utrecht University. The University is a place where I have gained a lot of theoretical knowledge on development in general, however the practical side is considerably different. These is the main aspect, which I desired to experience by doing an internship at SAATH; having a practical encounter with development and learn from an experienced organization.

SAATH asked me to do research on the quality of the anganwadi’s in Juhapura, which I immediately found an intriguing and motivating research topic. After a literature study in the Netherlands I came to Ahmedabad and had a warm and welcoming meet with SAATH. I started off with an extensive introduction of the organization, understanding their line of thought and their means of working. Soon I realized that the theoretical knowledge that I had granted to be so important had completely different meaning in practice. Moreover, certain features of Ahmedabad and Juhapura in specific, made some of the literature I had read unsuitable. When finalizing my internship, the art will be in combining the knowledge that I have gained from theory and the experiences I have in the field.

The first experiences with Juhapura were enchanting for me; the colourful streets of markets with all various products and the endless kindness of the people made me even more motivated to start with the research. After five weeks I started with conducting the actual interviews, which demanded some patience and innovative thinking. All together I have already had the experience I wanted; learn about the practical side of development and see that theoretical knowledge is not everything. Currently I am conducting the final interviews with the workers of the anganwadi’s, and many more interviews need to be done with the parents to formulate a complete overview. As I am only halfway my internship, I hope I can gather much more information and formulate a useful report for SAATH. I will let you know when I’m finished with this research!

Warm regards, Elle

Intern Fridays with Patola Polash

Polash Mukerjee was an intern at our organization in June 2011. He is studying Development Studies at the IIT in Chennai. Read his story below!

I worked with one of Saath’s rural initiatives, RWeaves. Through this initiative, Saath promotes traditional Tangaliya and Patola workers, through microfinance loans, procurement assistance and through facilitating sales in Ahmedabad and other cities of India. My internship consisted of working on the pricing of RWeaves products, in order to determine the optimum price, in accordance with fair trade standards. In my opinion, RWeaves is an excellent programme that helps not just sustain but enhance the livelihoods of the rural artisan of Northern Gujarat. Saath is doing its part in reviving the heritage and the vision of cottage industries that Mahatma Gandhi had.

Interning at Saath was an excellent experience. Although Saath was my first formal internship, I didn’t really feel out of place. The entire process helped me learn not just a bunch of stuff that I couldn’t read about, in a book, but more importantly, how to learn on the go. I learnt how to work in a group, and individually. I learnt what it feels like to be yelled at (no names mentioned!), and what appreciation feels like. The people I met at Saath, including some of the artisans, were really warm individuals who excelled in their own spheres. I really have to mention Kiranbhai, who was more patient with my requests than required, and Narsinhbhai of Kataria, Limbdi, whose Patola Sari’s were products of exemplary skill and craftsmanship.

Overall, I have to say my learning experience at Saath was fun, exciting, frustrating, and eye opening.

Intern Fridays: Shalini’s experience.

On Volunteer Fridays we share stories of our interns and volunteers with you. Today Shalini tells you about her internship at Saath. Shalini studies at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication in Pune. She was part of the RDC team from October to December 2011, where she did a great job. Thanks Shalini!

For one and half month, I worked as an intern at Saath in the Research, Documentation and Communication (RDC) Cell. I am glad to say that every moment spent at Saath had been a lifetime experience for me!

When I was searching for NGOs on internet, I came across many which worked for children, women or disabled in Ahmedabad. But I was searching for an NGO that worked at a larger scale and focused not only at a particular sector of the society but on the familiy and society as a whole. And then I came across Saath! When I visited their profile, I was astonished to see the phenomenal work done by Saath. It was mind boggling to see a grass root level NGO like Saath working in multiple sectors and striving to make society a better place to live in.

I was amazed to see the structure and working of Saath. Their USP is that they not only focus on women or children but on families and society as a whole. The organization is doing great job in terms of upliftment of the poor, underprivileged people in urban and rural areas. According to me, the best part about Saath is that they have a 360 degree approach towards improving the lives of the poor. They offer multiple services like provision of affordable housing, education, employability, awareness about child rights, training centers for employment, Urban Resource centers etc. You name it and they have it!

This internship gave me a golden opportunity to showcase my talent, learn new skills and improve upon the existing skills. It gave me a chance to lend my helping hand towards the society and contribute towards improving its future.

The best part of my internship was when I went to different villages for the case studies and also when I voluntarily spent time with the children in Balghars. I can never forget the smile on their innocent faces when I distributed stationery and food packets among them.

Shalini conducting a case-study (see last monday's post)

This internship not only helped me learn new things at the RDC Cell but also taught me important aspects of life. It gave me hands on practical experience about the society and its shortcomings. Personally I relished my internship throughout at Saath and enjoyed every part of my work, be it official documentation work or on field work. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction that Saath gave me a platform wherein I was able to contribute my bit towards the society I live in. It was a brilliant experience for me.

I extend my sincere thanks to each and everyone I worked with at Saath. Working with you all at Saath was an incredibly splendid experience!