For many people, myself included, an internship is the first look at “the real world” of work or life after school. I first interned at a nonprofit organization near my hometown in Pennsylvania when I was 19 and will forever carry the lessons and experiences I learned at that place.
One organization in Cape Town, South Africa is helping others have this same experience by providing meaningful connections within the internship space. I am so excited to share this interview with Kelsie Meaden, the Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Roots Interns.
Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a "Happiness is.”
Kelsie: Happiness is a meaningful impact in society while doing a job you love.
Liz: Tell me about your organization.
Kelsie: My organization is called Roots Interns. We create meaningful internships with nonprofit organisations in Africa. Our interns gain valuable work experience, allowing them to grow their roots. At the same time, they get to contribute to the important work that is happening at a grass-roots level in Southern Africa; a beautiful offshoot of mutual growth. We pride ourselves in match-making, so we place interns with organizations that we think will suit their personality, work style, and values.
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Kelsie: Supporting good causes is what drives us. At Roots, we believe that learning and doing good can go hand in hand, so we provide internships at non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and start-up businesses with ethical and sustainable practices. These organisations are making a difference in the communities surrounding us, and we want to support them in that. This means that not only will the interns get a valuable learning experience, but they will be contributing to a worthwhile cause and doing work they can feel good about.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Kelsie: To us, service means providing all the assistance we can to make your search for an internship a smooth and easy process. It means taking care of the small things for you, offering guidance and support, and answering your questions every step of the way. It’s about having assurance and comfort that you will be provided with accurate and useful information about your work experience abroad.
Liz: How can people get involved?
Kelsie: People can take a look at all of our internship offerings on our website. They can also keep up to date with new listings, check out what current interns are up to and get information on our partner organizations via our social media channels, Instagram and Facebook.
Liz: Anything else you'd like to add?
Kelsie: Most of our internship offerings are located in Cape Town, South Africa, but we have recently expanded to include organizations across the African continent. There are so many amazing grassroots organizations doing good all over Africa and we would love to be able to provide them all with interns!
Liz: Last thing. Do you have a favorite piece of advice to share?
Be Like a Tree:
Turn over a new leaf
Bend before you break
Connect with your ROOTS!