Interning with a social organization not only gives you the professional outlook but also the satisfaction of having made a difference in the lives of others. Mahima shares the internship story of her contribution in bringing a smile on the faces of small children.
About Author: Mahima, a final year B.Sc (Home Science) student from Lady Irwin College worked as a Research Intern for a Non-Governmental Organization called Udayan Care.
Summer break. Probably the two months we have all really looked forward to the most as a student. No matter how much we enjoy school, these months definitely seem to be the best time of our lives (in spite of the loads of holiday homework). You enter college and expect the summer vacation to be even better, because there’s really no holiday homework bothering you! But no wait. You’re a grown up now. You can’t spend two months doing nothing! Yes and that’s where the whole idea of internship comes in. As you join college and choose your subjects, you tend to think of higher studies and your possible career choices. You see your peers interning somewhere or the other during summer or winter breaks and you realize it’s necessary for you to do so too. And why is that? So as to make your resume look good and to get your desired job! That’s where the story of my internship starts.
Having given my second year college exams, I knew this summer I had to work. Majoring in Human Development and Childhood Studies I wished to intern in an organization that worked with/for children, families or communities. And thanks to my elder sister, who’s working with an NGO, I found the perfect place for my internship. Udayan Care, an NGO working for the quality care of disadvantaged children and women, is where I gained my first formal internship experience. It has its headquarters in New Delhi, India and several shelter homes for orphaned and abandoned children all over Delhi and few other states. Apart from this, it works for holistic development of deserving girls from weaker sections, supports healthy children of HIV positive parents and also provides vocational training to individuals.
My friend, Kanika and I visited Udayan Care on 21st May 2012 for the very first time and inquired about the various internship options. After much discussion with Dr. Kiran Modi, Founder cum Managing Trustee of that organization (also our mentor for the entire project), we decided to do a small research project on Verbal and Non-verbal cues used in Communication by traumatized children. On 4th June, we started our five-week long fruitful journey with Udayan Care. On the first day, we were given an orientation by the coordinator of Volunteers Department. After that we laid down the outline of our project. Next morning we reached office filled with much enthusiasm and excitement. Carrying heavy laptop bags and most of the time sitting in a huge conference room gave us quite the office feel. Really looking forward to working on the project assigned to us, we started by researching about the topic. We surfed various websites to find whatever we could, related to our project.
The first day of work came off as a bit of a disappointment because our topic was so specific that it was becoming hard to find anything relevant. Nevertheless, we did enjoy working in an office environment! Over the next few days, we researched a bit more and visited certain organizations such as Save the Children and UNESCO for collecting any relevant data available with them. After visiting both of them, we stopped over at South Extension market for lunch, at the famous Bengali Sweets. What’s an internship without some fun? ;) Each day, we used to reach office between nine-thirty to ten in the morning and would leave after four or five in the evening, though we would officially get free at four.
After doing a bit of research on our topic, we started preparing the research tools to be conducted at one girls home at Sant Nagar and one boys home at Mayur Vihar. Since we were mainly working with children in the age group of 6-18 years, we designed several interesting activities for them. These were aimed to observe how well these children express as well as understand verbally and non-verbally. An interview and a questionnaire were also prepared to be conducted with the mentor mothers and social workers at these homes. We fixed up days for visiting the children homes and started with the boys home first. The day didn’t go as we had planned at all. We had lined up several activities for the day, but could do only few. The boys at this home seemed a bit disinterested and it was becoming difficult for us to manage them. We felt a bit disappointed; nonetheless, we decided to come some other day to complete the rest of the activities. Next we went to the girls’ home and had an amazing day with them. Unlike the boys, they showed much enthusiasm for the activities, and were also much more organized. We were able to conduct most of the activities with them, in spite of the heat (lights had gone off too). Girls seemed to be much interested in our mobiles, iPod and camera and readily posed for photos! They were fond of English songs and even asked us to play some of them. Promising the girls to come back soon, we left their home in the evening, feeling satisfied! After few days we again went to the girls place and finished whatever activities were left. Now it was time for us to visit the boys home again. This time the situation was even worse. None of the boys even wanted to sit down for the activities. We tried our best and were able to do only one or two activities with few of them.
The social worker at that place suggested us that we go to the other boys’ home nearby, saying that those children would be much more cooperative. And yes, they were! These boys were organized, well behaved and eager to play games and do several activities. With them, we were able to conduct most activities within couple of hours. “Didi, aap bhi khana kha lo” was what several boys said during their lunchtime and their caretaker offered us lunch. At the end, we even had a small dance session for the children, playing their choice of songs. We distributed chocolates and left off with a smile on our faces! We had also conducted the interviews and questionnaires with the mentor mothers and social workers respectively and now it was time for us to compile our research findings and make our project report. My friend and I sat down, divided work and started writing our conclusions and analysis. For the next few days, we kept working on this and eventually finalized a 46-page project report!! The satisfaction derived from the completeness of this project was much more than any school/college project we would have ever done! Only one thing was remaining, a power point presentation. And that too we completed over the next couple of days and got ready for our final presentation on 6th July morning.
We reached office on the final day, dressed up in suits! As far as I remember, we started off with the presentation around ten and winded up everything till eleven. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed and praised us for all our efforts and dedication. Dr. Kiran Modi (founder and our mentor), not suggesting any changes in our project and being satisfied with our work, was a huge compliment for us! Post the presentation, we expressed our gratitude for their support and guidance, got few pictures clicked and bid adieu to everyone! We thus finished our internship with much happiness and contentment. This was probably the most productive summer of my life and I thank Udayan Care for providing me with such an enriching internship! I intend to remain associated with them. So this was My Internship Story. Hope you all enjoyed reading it.
Did you have an amazing internship experience? Participate in the Your Internship Story Contest 2012 and we will reward you for sharing your story. There are prizes worth Rs. 50,000 to be won!