South Africa is home to one of the world’s most liberal constitutions and at the very heart-and-soul of this nation’s new Constitution is the defense of every individual’s basic human rights. Apartheid left deep cultural scars in South Africa and the new government is still working to purge society of prejudice, xenophobia, gender inequality, poverty, and racism. Cape Town is home to the South African Parliament and as a result, there are many wonderful NGOs and government organizations based in and around the city that promote the causes of social justice and human rights.
Cultural Engagement: This internship program includes weekly cultural workshops that allow you to learn more about South African culture.
Placement: The Cape Town Human Rights Virtual Internship is an individualized placement where you are placed with an internship site based on your skills and interests, the needs of the worksite, and position availability.
The following organizations are examples of the organizations you may be placed with through this internship, however, there are many other options as well. A clearly-written, detailed cover letter and “Individualized Placement Statement,” part of the application process, will enable us to place you in a suitable organization. All internship sites offer good learning opportunities. If a particular organization interests you, feel free to mention this in your application, but please note that placement with a certain company/organization cannot be guaranteed. Placement decisions are based on the skills and interest of the intern, the needs of the worksite, and position availability. Possible sites include:
Badgers Football Academy
Badgers Football Academy is a non-profit community intervention aimed at empowering and improving the lives of girls in high-risk areas through football. They are creating alternative life paths for girls and women in high-risk communities. The Academy provides safe spaces where girls develop football skills, build strong relationships, and tap into mentorship and guidance from a representative leadership and peer group. This program offers an amazing opportunity to create a vibrant sports club for the community, while still ensuring that schoolgirls from high-risk areas receive excellent football and mental health and life skills coaching. Interns may work in one or more of the follow areas: Sport program curriculum design, social media and visibility, fundraising
The Commission for Gender Equality
The Commission strives to promote and protect gender rights. Their strategic objective is to advance an enabling legislative environment for gender equality and they work in a variety of focus areas including: gender based violence, gender and the intersection of culture, tradition and religion, sustainable equality, health, and women’s economic empowerment. Interns may work in one or more of the follow areas: research, program planning, office admin
Human Rights Research
This project has interns working with a criminologist based at University of Cape Town. This research looks at domestic violence and police access. Interns may work in one or more of the following areas: transcribing interviews, researching and tabulating socioeconomic data, qualitative synthesis of data.
Africa Unite (AU) is a human rights and youth empowerment organization that works with citizens, refugees and migrants to prevent conflicts, enhance social cohesion and promote socio-economic development. Through a combination of educational and practical program AU prepares youth to face the challenges of living in South Africa while also being agents of change within communities themselves. Then organization was formed in 2001 in response to violence against asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in Crossroads and Nyanga, sprawling impoverished, predominantly black townships on the outskirts of Cape Town. Interns may work in one or more of the following areas: creating outreach materials, and workshop coordination.
Ikamva Labantwana strives to address educational gaps, by providing after school homework help and supplementary tutoring in English and Math for primary (elementary) school learners from the Crossroads township. They partner with local high-performing high schools to continue guiding their program graduates down the path to university, employment, and success. To this end they also teach classes on life skills, job readiness, barista skills, office administration, home management, computer skills and beautician/barber skills to youth. Interns may work in one or more of the following areas: program design and facilitation, creating marketing and outreach materials, program monitoring and evaluation of programs, and alumni tracking
Refugee Legal and Advocacy Centre (RLAC)
RLAC mission is to protect and promote the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa through legal assistance, advocacy and public policy reform. They also provide advocacy services through rights awareness workshops and skills training. Their vision is an empowered and integrated refugee community that participates in and promotes a fair and equitable civil society. Interns may work in one of more of the follow areas: research about the diverse refugee communities in South Africa, conducting min-interviews with refugees, proofing submissions for amendments of bills, attending workshops and meetings with other partner advocacy campaign leaders, as well as writing proposals for fundraising and participating with fieldwork and relationship building in communities to understand the needs for legal counselling, admin support to the Program Director, Preparing and editing correspondence, reports and legal documents, outreach with refugee communities, Monitoring the developments at parliament and checking for any proposed Bills that affect or impact on the lives of refugees and asylum seekers, Preparing and submitting recommendations and propositions on policy reform to the relevant government departments and parliament, design social media awareness campaigns, research on the socio-economics, Preparing briefs for the in-house attorney, Drafting of legal documents, affidavits, applications, notices of motions. Legal research, filing court papers.
Job responsibilities will vary depending on placement and may include direct client service provision, research, advocacy, grant-writing, program development and facilitation, etc. In your application, use your "Individualized Placement Statement" to outline any specific skills that you would like to learn or apply in your internship.
The program fee factors in the total number of work hours, the duration of the internship and the number of academic credits. During the application review phase, your Program Coordinator will provide you with an estimated program budget, based on your specific circumstances and internship program. See examples of estimated program fees below.
1 undergrad academic credit = 30 total work hours
1 undergrad academic credit = 45 total work hours
“I learned a lot about the culture and the people. This was possible due to the weekly remote interactions and video calls. I loved the weekly cultural discussions when I could ask anything I wanted to know more about. I had wonderful mentors and they gave me the freedom to work flexibly and at my own pace. Their warm personalities aided in my remote experience. . I feel that this remote internship experience had a HUGE impact on my self-esteem and made me realize that I have more potential than I thought I had.”
“During my virtual internship I was working on putting together a sports program design for a group of underprivileged girls based in South Africa. Although I would have liked to visit Cape Town in person, I have still been able to meet some incredible people and truly experience the South African culture within the comfort of my own home. I feel I have made a difference in these girls’ lives whilst they have changed mine. Some goals I had before starting this internship were to meet new people, complete my soccer program in its entirety, and help these girls. I feel I have reached all of my goals and am not left with any regrets or unfinished business!
While participating in fun weekly cultural workshops, I was able to learn and experience as much of South Africa as possible remotely. These chats were always the highlight of my week and are something I will truly miss. This experience has helped me gain perspective, think creatively, and explore my interests.”
“I chose this internship because I was excited at the prospect of engaging with a human rights organization in South Africa. I wanted to learn more about South African culture, as well as develop the skills necessary to succeed working with an organization in another country. From this experience, I learned a lot from my check-ins with my internship supervisor and colleagues.”
Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15
- See Qualifications & Requirements Tab Below