SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

SIHMA Reflections on the Experiences of Two Interns Working Remotely for SIHMA

SIHMA was pleased to receive and work with two volunteers who each worked remotely with SIHMA in recent months. It was a pleasure to receive both interns and we are thankful for the time and effort they have put in to assist SIHMA work towards our vision of  ‘An Africa where the human rights of people on the move are ensured and their dignity is promoted.’

Reflection from April Walter

My name April Walter.  I am from Ohio in the United States.  I earned my Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from Baldwin Wallace University.  Currently, I am working towards a Master of International Affairs from Pennsylvania State University.  Alongside my graduate degree, I am completing a graduate certificate in Public Health Preparedness.  I completed a remote internship for the months of June to July 2021 as a research and communications intern.  I was introduced to SIHMA through Connect-123, an organization that brings students in contact with volunteer and internship opportunities across the globe.  I am incredibly grateful that I was matched with them. Although my time as SIHMA was remote and I never got to meet the staff in person, I will value what I have learned from the staff throughout my career.  The work I completed helped me learn more about migration issues not only in South Africa but throughout the African continent as well.    

I have been interested in migration and working with refugees since my time at my undergrad institution.  Working with SIHMA has allowed me to continue following my passion for migration.  Throughout my time with the organization, I was able to further my understanding on the causes of migration and its trends.

During my time at SIHMA, I have co-authored three blog posts: [1] World Refugee Day 2021, [2] in Malawi, Migrants’ Right to Vote, and Mandela Day Globally, and [3] Towards a Legal and Regulatory Framework for South African Domestic Remittances: Some Considerations- a review of SIHMA’s AHMR journal publication.  In addition to the blog posts, I wrote the SIHMA’s press review for June of 2021.  I have also completed a research project focusing on the health conditions of refugee camps on the African continent.  

Thank you to James and Debby for their guidance throughout my experience as I had such a wonderful time working for SIHMA.  I hope to visit Cape Town soon and meet the entire team in person.  I encourage anyone looking to intern or volunteer with this amazing organization to do it.


Reflection from Mary Cascarelli

My name is Mary Cascarelli, and I am a 4th year student at Michigan State University in the United States. I am majoring in Comparative Cultures and Politics with Muslim Studies. After graduating in December 2021, I hope to obtain a post-graduate degree in Public Health and Social Work.

I found SIHMA after my school put me in contact with Connect123 and I was then paired with SIHMA. Although my internship was all remote, I’m so happy I was able to work with them for the duration of my internship. I was still able to feel involved and meet with the staff and volunteers through zoom.

I hoped to gain more experience in research and communications when joining SIHMA and I truly feel like I have. My focus in school is the Middle East so it was interesting to learn more about Africa and specifically South Africa. My goal for the internship was to gain more real-world experience and see how research and communications could coincide with my future career goals. I hope to go into the sphere of Public Health and work with refugees. So, I was able to learn more about the experiences of refugees in South Africa. I was also able to talk with April, another intern, who is also interested in Public Health.

During my time at SIHMA I was able to help with social media posts, attend webinars, post blog posts ([4] and [5]), and work on my own research in collaboration with SIHMA. My research for SIHMA surrounds Catholic agencies in the Middle East and the ways in which they have addressed the needs of migrants in the area. Since my area of expertise in school is the Middle East and I hope to work with refugees, I was grateful for this opportunity to further my knowledge even more. Fr Filippo has published work on Catholic agencies work in Africa, so I was interested to see how it compares to the Middle East.

I have felt great support from the team and am so happy to have been able to work with them for the couple months I was here. I always love meeting new people who have the same passion for human rights issues, and I know SIHMA is doing great work. Hopefully I will be able to work with the team again and stay in touch!




If you are interested in contributing the SIHMA Blog on the Move please contact us at: or if you are interested writing an article to be reviewed and published in the African Human Mobility Review, please follow this link on making a submission: 




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