Going into my third year of university, I had already completed two internships. I needed a job to support my studies, but I also wanted to try something new, gain experience and broaden my horizons. Fundraising and communications is not something I have much experience in, so I was happy when I saw the advert, because it was something new.
Before applying for this internship, I had very little idea about what leprosy is. Beside the occasional (albeit misinformed) banter we used in elementary school, I had no idea what it really is and that it still exists in some parts of the world. Whilst researching this organisation, I realised the cold, hard facts. I realised, that leprosy is not a disease of the Middle Ages, but it affects hundreds of thousands of people all over the developing world.
And the punchline? It is completely curable. The cure for this illness is accessible and free for the people affected by it, and if diagnosed in time, leprosy can be a disease of little consequence.
During my first few days at Lepra, I had to go through an induction, which meant reading through countless important policies and regulations, but this also allowed me to meet every single person in the office, learn about their roles and their day to day tasks. This was great because from the very beginning, I knew who to go to if I had any issues with anything.
Throughout my internship, I had the chance to learn more about leprosy and LF and gain an understanding of how a small international charity works. I learned how it is structured, what each department is responsible for and how everyone’s role is focused on the ultimate task of helping people affected by leprosy. It is interesting to see how all this work done in the office comes together. I also had the chance to learn about the specific programmes carried out by Lepra, which was quite inspiring as I know what my work will hopefully contribute to at the end.
Before this internship, I had never worked with social media or in communications within a professional setting. Whittling down very important and complicated programs, campaigns or stories into a few hundred words is not an easy task. But it is necessary to be able to draw people’s attention to the important issues surrounding leprosy. I feel that at the end of this internship, I will have a good understanding of the different aspects of fundraising and communication within a small international charity.
After graduation, there are many different avenues I can imagine myself pursuing. One option is to continue to work in the charity sector, preferably in an organisation aiming to lessen the UK's contribution to climate change. My internship has shown me what working for an NGO means and gave me a good understanding of its day to day operations, which I hope will give in advantage if I decide to pursue a career in that field.