Oasis Belgium hosts interns for periods of three month up to one year with The Welkom Project. To request an application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Abisola Adefioye and I am currently an intern at Oasis Belgium. I live in South London and came to work with Oasis as a part of my degree at the University of East Anglia, where I study Geography & International Development.
I am currently two weeks into my placement as an intern at Oasis Belgium, and though it has ups and downs, I am so glad to have the opportunity to undertake this. When I first started, I definitely felt as though I was thrown into the ‘deep-end’, as on my second day, I visited 5 brothels with Teak and Lisa (other AMAZING members of the team). I was scared and very apprehensive but once we got there, sat down and actually spoke with the women, I realised that there was nothing to be scared of. Meeting C, for example – she was very normal and tried her best to make me feel comfortable, despite the language barrier between us, my ridiculous fear of her chihuahua, and her frustration at her situation. Before we left, she hugged me and told me she wished she had dimples like mine.
My advice to anyone who wants to intern at Oasis is that it is imperative to remember that these women are actual people. In the face of their situation, some of them are still able to smile and laugh with us.
One down-side of the placement is the emotional facet. I did find that once I had met the women and listened to their stories, I felt like I had taken on their baggage and couldn’t stop thinking about it, even when I’d gone home. It was as though I had picked something up and couldn’t put it down.
One thing that helps with this feeling is going back each day and working with the team to see what we can do to help through sensible, well thought out action plans and regular visits with the ladies. Though some women are in incredibly difficult situations, there is a wonderful group of people at Oasis who genuinely care for them, pray for them and are working (essentially 24/7!) to make sure that they are safe and have their basic needs met.
If you want to do something that truly impacts lives, I would definitely recommend being an intern at Oasis Belgium.
Tomorrow will be my last day interning at Oasis Belgium, and I must say I am very sad to be leaving! After 6 weeks of working with the team, I truly feel a part of the Oasis family. It has been an enlightening experience to learn about and participate in Oasis’ projects which support vulnerable people from diverse backgrounds who are living in Belgium. One common goal of these projects is that they are helping individuals and their families regain happy and healthy lives.
An aspect of our work that I have particularly enjoyed is that every day is different and exciting. Some days we spend in the office, and others we go out in the field to visit cases in every corner of Belgium. Sometimes we spend time with them in their homes, or we support them in court, embassies, or wherever they may need help. This way it is possible to get experience in a range of settings. Working with the cases who have difficult pasts has been specifically interesting for my degree in psychology.
The work Oasis does really makes a difference in the lives of the people they work with, which is something you can feel on a day-to-day basis. Because of our close contact with the cases, it is not unlikely to hear a million thank-yous for visiting them that day, to receive a heart-warming hug, or simply to see the comfort and relief in their faces. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet these people and to learn from their experiences.
I wish all the best to future interns and volunteers, and am confident they will have an equally fruitful experience at Oasis.