SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Felipa Schmidt

My name is Felipa, I am from Germany and I was a research intern for SIHMA from May to August 2020. I had originally intended to come to Cape Town from February to August 2020 to complete the internship, yet as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the international travel bans were put in place, the internship became remote. Despite having a remote internship, the wealth of knowledge that I gained was not impacted. 

I came to SIHMA, after completing my masters and gaining an interest in migration and refugees health from previous volunteer experience at an NGO. My reason for interning at SIHMA was to gain a perspective on migration that is often omitted in modern news cycles, as it is often dominated by a Western, European view. Through the internship, I completed migration profiles as an ongoing project for the Vatican, wrote blog posts on how COVID-19 is impacting migrants and refugees in Africa, the positive impacts of youth migrants in the world, and completed a research project on the mental health impacts of youth migrants and refugees. 

At SIHMA I was also able to move away from research from a solely academic perspective and see how research is important of an NGO. More importantly, how to make research accessible to public and what topics should be researched on further that can really help the target audience. Through my work on my research project, I really enjoyed getting to know the work that Scalabrini does with Lawrence House, as this allowed me to learn about the different facets of the Scalabrini Network, all under the same aim of helping and aiding the integration of migrants and refugees into South African culture. This highlighted the importance of connecting research to different aspects of social services for migrants and refugees. 

I truly value my experience and the knowledge that I have gained from SIHMA and I would recommend this internship to everyone.