Whilst most people this time of year focus on initiating changes for New Year, I contrastingly find myself reflecting on the past year, as my time as Arrupe Intern comes to a close. For more than half of 2019, I have been fortunate enough to work across two very different teams here at JRS; both equally interesting in their own right.
For one half of the week, I help out in the Fundraising and Communications Team where I have delved into donation processing as well as editing social media and website posts. The rest of the week, I am with the Destitution Services Team, which involves more front-line work with our refugee friends such as distributing travel grants at our weekly Day Centre, or helping to book appointments for new friends to register with our service.
An internship split across two different teams has many advantages. For one, you are inevitably exposed to a wide range of tasks. From arranging transport for a donation of 200 towels to recording testimonies about the life stories of some of our refugee friends – there is always an opportunity to learn something new!
For another, there is a little of bit of leeway as an intern to create and develop things that might have not been high on the priority list of an otherwise very busy staff. For example, I was intrigued to spend some time researching contactless devices to be used for future donations, particularly in our ever increasing cashless society. Similarly, I have enjoyed creating our online Wishlist where our supporters can directly purchase items to be delivered to our doorstep.
If you would like to make a physical donation visit Jasmine’s current needs list and our online wishlist, or make a cashless donation online
But, perhaps the biggest highlight of all has been the friendships created during my time here. I am consistently inspired everyday by the resilience of our friends, many in the throes of a difficult asylum procedure, and the dedication of our staff and volunteers united for social justice.
Like many, before joining JRS, I was unaware of how unrelenting the asylum process can be for some in the UK. It was hard to conceive that a set of measures has been deliberately implemented to create a ‘Hostile Environment’ for asylum seekers, subjecting so many to difficult living circumstances. From being homeless to having no right to work and support themselves, we encounter daily many of our friends who are completely at the mercy of the Hostile Environment.
But in times that can feel hopeless or unjust, I find there are always pockets of change; people, movements and organisations united in standing up for what they believe is right, standing in solidarity with people suffering and advocating for change. To me, JRS is a bright example of one of those pockets.
Interested by Jasmine’s work at JRS UK?