by Lisa Jean-Mairet
Rehoboth was founded by Zoraida Samuel and she is still the leader of the whole NGO. You can find all the projects Rehoboth initiated and further details concerning the NGO on the website http://www.rehobothhome.org/.
During my internship I was living with the founder of the NGO and her family. The family was very welcoming and friendly and at the same time I still had the luxury of some privacy in my own room. Especially in the beginning, when everything was still very new, I was glad for both of these privileges.
The work itself consisted of two parts. I was writing a report for Dalyan, a Swiss Charitable Foundation (http://www.dalyanfoundation.org/), about one of Rehoboth’s projects. The specific requirements for this report were given by Dalyan. Basically it was my job to observe the current development of the project in question and to compare this to the goals that were agreed on by Rehoboth and Dalyan. The second part of my work as an intern was to help out with daily tasks that came up in the NGO. Updating their brochure and creating a budget with all the monthly expenses can be listed as examples.
The typical work day would either be spent in the main buildings of Rehoboth at the border of Chennai or on the farm, I was writing about, outside of the city. That way I did not only experience life in Chennai, where millions of people live, but also life on the countryside. Both the work on the farm and the work in the main buildings of Rehoboth include interaction with mentally challenged women. Sometimes I was required to work with other staff of the NGO who only spoke Tamil. This can be demanding, but we always managed to communicate somehow and even got along very well. I went to work and back home with the founder of the NGO almost every day.
What I loved the most about my experience in Chennai was that I was able to learn a lot about their culture and that I really got to know the people I worked with. I was even able to make friends I’m still in contact with. Living with the founder of the NGO and her family made it possible for me to share their way of living in a genuine way. Whenever something made me curious or seemed confusing to me, they were happy to answer my questions. Being around the founder and leader of Rehoboth during so many days also gave me a valuable insight into her daily routine and the challenges she is facing. All in all I can recommend this internship as an unforgettable experience.