Jess joins us at African Impact's Head Office in Cape Town from the USA. As a marketing intern, she is able to combine her skill set and desire to improve struggling communities and vulnerable wildlife for a satisfying experience.
It is usually very obvious for an audience to recognize a marketer that is just trying to make a sale. Alternatively, it is also pretty easy to acknowledge a person who genuinely believes in what they are marketing. I always feel that the latter of the two is much more rewarding and in turn, leads to better results. I started my research on volunteer companies the way many others do, by simply googling my options. Of the dozen results pages, I found myself continually coming back to African Impact.
When choosing to intern with African Impact’s marketing team, I knew that the mission and programs in place would be something I could believe in. Beyond reading in brochures all that we do as a company to support and enhance the lives of local communities and wildlife, I was given the opportunity to get out on project and see first hand the impacts being made.
Over the span of two days I was able to visit two of our oldest projects in Cape Town- the first being at Red Hill Preschool and the second at the library after school program in the community of Masiphumelele. We arrived at the Red Hill Pre-school during circle time for the class of about sixteen children. The smiles on their faces as they were singing along and clapping their hands with the teacher made you want to join in. The lesson planned for that day were on the subject of fire, so we began by reading a book aloud and engaging them in questions on safety precautions. We had quite a brave group shouting out the service professions they aspired to be such as firefighters and police. They seemed to really enjoy craft time where each child received 4 blank flames to write out the word ‘fire’ and color them in. These activities are important basic life skills and literacy preparation needed to enter grade school. In addition to practicing their alphabet, writing, and fine motor skills, the volunteers also regularly moderate the children’s BMI as a part of the Health and Nutrition program.
The project at the Masiphumelele Library after-school program was no less gratifying. We set up different stations with coloring, puzzles and games that the children could choose from. I was told that there could be up to 200 children in attendance at a time depending on the day. These programs are important because research has discovered that these are the most vulnerable hours for the children to get involved in harmful activities such as gang violence, drinking, drugs, and etc. The children were so welcoming introducing themselves and asking our names in return. You could immediately feel the pride in their culture as some of them enthusiastically taught me basic Xhosa vocabulary and phrases which I was happy to practice with them for the rest of my time there.
Both projects held to be incredibly meaningful to me and only solidified my decision to intern with African Impact. It is an amazing chance to make a difference in these communities of those less fortunate. I was asked during my first few days here what aspects make a positive internship experience. I can now say that the balance between strengthening my skills behind the scenes at Head Office and working hands-on with the volunteers on projects I am passionate about, makes for an undoubtedly optimistic experience. A major component in promoting these projects is seeing the work being done truly improving the lives of the locals. We all play different roles within the African Impact organization, but regardless of if you spend majority of your time in Head Office or out on project every day, you can feel the profound dedication from all. I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store for me!