a Counseling, Public Heath, and Social Work with Vulnerable Populations in Indonesia | IE3 Global
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Counseling, Public Heath, and Social Work with Vulnerable Populations in Indonesia | North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Intern with an organization where the goal is to serve the victims of child exploitation. Yayasan Compassion First Indonesia (YCFI) provides counseling and quality education for girls brought out of the Indonesian sex trade and works to restore their lives so that they may be fully stabilized upon returning to society. Interns support in areas of education, program development, activity planning, communications and media, and more.

This internship will be a good fit for an independent, self-motivated individual who would like to contribute to a team of dedicated individuals working on critical programming. Interns work at the YCFI office in North Sulawesi and at aftercare clinics. The ideal intern will be interested in children’s and women’s issues, human rights, social services, international development, or non-profit administration, with demonstrated skills and/or interest in communications. Effective interpersonal communication skills are critical and the intern must have patience and respect for working in another culture.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10-24 weeks. Minimum of 12 weeks preferred.

Internship Start Dates:

  • Flexible start dates each term

Compassion First provides holistic aftercare for trafficking survivors, partnered law enforcement training, safe pathways for survivors through the court system, and financial collaboration for rescues of trafficked persons. Founded in 2007 and based in Oregon, Compassion First works with international staff, law enforcement agencies, and like-minded non-profit organizations to support trafficking survivors. Through their International Survivor Care, Holy Night outreach, and US Survivor Care initiatives, Compassion First seeks to serve survivors of sex trafficking. They focus on four central areas of support and activism: aftercare, legal advocacy, partnered peer-to-peer law enforcement training, and case-managed intervention support. They are specifically committed to serving countries that do not already have a strong, western, non-governmental organization presences in the area of anti-trafficking work.

Compassion First opened their flagship facility, Sarah’s House, in North Sulawesi, Indonesia in 2010. Sarah’s House is an all-in-one, 24-hour, secure care facility where meaningful, trauma-specific therapeutic care from qualified Indonesian and international staff is made available to residents and community-based survivors. Compassion First is also a licensed education provider; survivors are able to re-engage their education and pursue graduation and progress to higher education opportunities.

Compassion First works closely with local police and prosecutors in seeking to understand Indonesian law and how it prosecutes human trafficking. Since 2010 (and the opening of Sarah’s House), CF has held two conferences in Indonesia. The most recent was a legal conference in February 2013 in which over 25 prosecutors from around the region were invited to engage in a dialogue in understanding their needs while also bringing in speakers with extensive experience in human trafficking cases. In 2012, Compassion First partnered with the Portland Police Bureau to conduct police training in identifying potential trafficked children or those who might be at risk to be trafficked.

Compassion First hopes to expand their work to include awareness and prevention of sex trafficking in Indonesia by cooperating with other organizations and Indonesians to bring greater attention to the methods and dangers of trafficking. Specifically, they partner with the Indonesian Department of Empowerment for Women and Children in educating communities about the problem. To an extent, their aftercare work is also a form of prevention— educating and empowering clients to greatly reduce the chance of re-exploited upon their exit. For more information about Compassion First and its initiatives in Indonesia and Oregon, visit their website.

Interns will be asked to perform a variety of duties depending on their educational background and interests. However, tasks will primarily center around education, program development, and activity support. Some tasks YCFI interns may be expected to participate and contribute to while overseas include:

English Teacher

As native English speakers, interns can contribute to the English educational program by teaching or assisting in classes. This greatly benefits client skill development as well as that of the Indonesian staff.

Program Development

YCFI is constantly looking to diversify the programs offered to its clients, be it educational, vocational, or focused on building life skills such as managing finances or learning how to cook. Interns will assist in planning and organizing these various programs and, subject to supervisor approval, participate as well.

Activity/Outing Planning

Given the nature of YCFI’s work and their clientele, it is a necessity to give both staff and clients a break from classes, counseling, and life in the center. Helping plan and organize outings or recreational activities contributes to the overall health of YCFI.

Communications and Media

As a non-profit organization, it is imperative for Compassion First to have a strong presence in social media, as well as finding new and improved ways to give donors better insight into the work they are supporting. Be it through the Compassion First website, field blog, Facebook, or Twitter, the team works to provide regular updates. Photography and videography for use both in Indonesia and America is also valued.

Prevention Campaign

In addition to educating clients to prevent re-exploitation, Compassion First is committed to spreading awareness about the issue of child trafficking throughout the region and greater Indonesia. Interns may assist in development and research for future prevention programs, as well as work closely with Indonesian staff to effectively outline distribution methods and promote prevention strategies.

Other Duties

These will be left to the designation of the internship supervisor and includes (but are not limited to): conference planning and coordination; attending, documenting, planning for events in Jakarta or Surubaya; and hosting volunteer teams from America.

An intern with YCFI will acquire the following knowledge and skills and knowledge:

  • Understand the inner-workings of a non-profit organization
  • Gain practical experience working in a cross-cultural environment
  • Sharpen their ability to tackle multiple projects in a variety of areas, such as assisting in conference planning or program development
  • Learn basic Bahasa Indonesian speaking, reading and writing skills.

Academic Background

  • Coursework in education, social services, counseling, international development, women and gender Studies, or non-profit administration is helpful. Interns should have basic knowledge and understanding of international development.


  • There are no firm pre-requisites for this position, although demonstrated professionalism and sensitivity to cross-cultural issues is important. English teaching experience and prior work overseas is strongly preferred.
  • Interns should be committed to serving the best interests of the survivors in-line with Compassion First’s mission and methods of creating a compassionate network for survivors based on strong relationships and unconditional support.

Language Requirements

  • English and Bahasa Indonesian are both spoken in the work environment, though Indonesian is the more commonly spoken of the two. Outside of the center, the area YCFI operates out of is a mix of Bahasa Indonesia as well as the local dialect. English is spoken to a very basic degree, and should not be relied upon in social situations. However, it is quite easy to pick up Bahasa Indonesian and the YCFI staff will assist interns in learning the essentials of the language.

Other Requirements

  • Intern should have some basic understanding of Indonesian society and culture, though this can be learned prior to departure through independent research. Maturity, self- motivation, independence and flexibility are critical. Successful applicants will be required to read “Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures” by Sarah Lanier.

Estimated One-Time Expenses:

  • IE3 Global Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fees: None
  • International Travel: $1,800
  • Visa Fees: $60
  • Recommended Immunizations: $600

Estimated Monthly Expenses:

  • Housing: $100 (intern is responsible for utilities)
  • Food: $250
  • Local Transportation: $75
  • Recreation: $100
  • Personal Expenses: $75

Accommodation is typically arranged by and paid for by YCFI, but interns are responsible for utilities. Past interns have stayed in private apartments or rooms, and should be prepared for the possibility of living independently.

“I truly believe that I inspired new thought on the topic of rehabilitation, and what they [Compassion First] would like that to look like at the shelter. In addition to the beginnings of a life skills program, I taught an English class to the clients as well as staff, a fitness class, and did craft activities. I also made myself available to anyone who needed assistance with work they were doing. Last but not least, I spent time with the girls daily, even if we were doing nothing. I think the most important thing I learned is the importance of creating relationships. I wanted to create an atmosphere in which they felt comfortable around me to be themselves and ask for what they needed. I think this understanding is the biggest benefit I gained from my internship—personally and professionally.”

- Marija, Portland State University


Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

- Coursework in education, social services, counseling, international development, women and gender studies, or non-profit administration is preferred

- High level of discretion and cross-cultural sensitivity

- Previous international experience strongly preferred