Pilot Internship Program in Kolkata
The aim of the pilot was to connect Australians and South Asians working on women’s issues in order to begin a process of learning and working together across cultural differences. Outlined below were some of the specific aims of the internship program developed in collaboration with ERC international programs coordinator Sean Cleary.
- Explore women’s issues in the context of a vastly different political climate
- Observe how women’s organisations are responding to the abuse of women’s rights in West Bengal
- Develop skills in working across cultural boundaries
- Gain exposure to a dynamic organisation that facilitates change at a range of levels – from grass roots community work to advocacy at a local, national and international level
- Compare women’s rights in India to women’s rights in Australia
- Compare grass roots responses to women’s injustice in India and Australia
- Explore the connections between poverty and women’s rights in our region
- Consider the legacy of colonial rule in cross cultural interactions
- Consider the impact of continuing power inequalities in our region in shaping the relationships built during internship process
- Transformative education through a period of immersion in another culture.
- Build qualitatively deep personal and professional relationships between Australians and Indians defending women’s rights
- Create a dynamic network that transcends national boundaries that is able to respond effectively to a range of emerging challenges to women’s rights
In Australia, the response from community organisations to this pilot women’s internship program, has been overwhelming positive. Rugmini Ventakaram, chair of the Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association and violence prevention worker described the internships as “a wonderful first step in a long term strategy to initiate actions to address the violation of the human rights of women.”
Download report of pilot program here