Every year on 12 August we celebrate International Youth Day. To mark the occasion, we asked interns from our member organizations to share their internship stories.
Nesehnutí // Agáta Prokopová
I came across my internship and later work in NESEHNUTÍ through my studies in sociology with a specialization in gender at the MUNI Faculty of Social Sciences. When choosing an organization where I could do my internship, I was impressed by NESEHNUTÍ’s commitment to social change and also by its non-hierarchical structure that contributes to the realization of the idea of an equal and just society. I was specifically attracted by the F*ÉRA team, which is mainly dedicated to gender-sensitive education and in which I had the opportunity to learn how to organize workshops in secondary and primary schools on topics such as sex education and violence prevention.
Working with F*ERA allows me to bring social justice and feminist topics closer to the wider public through communication and dialogue. Already in my internship, it has been very meaningful to me that my colleagues have treated me as an equal part of the team, and that this approach is also applied in my interactions with students and pupils in educational workshops. Their feedback, as well as that from my fellow colleagues, continues to inspire and sensitise me. At the same time, this work provides me with the space to contribute my own ideas on gender issues, projects and initiatives.
I started working in the field of gender-sensitive education because it is in formal education where gender inequalities and various more or less harmful stereotypes are often reproduced in our society. Negative experiences in this area motivate me to start a dialogue in the school environment about the perceived ideas of femininity and masculinity and to encourage reflection and questioning. In doing so, I see my goal as a process in which people have the space to gain understanding, empathy and respect for each other, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation or status.
Alina // SIMI
My name is Alina, I moved to the Czech Republic from Russia 4 years ago and now I am doing a Master's degree in Gender Studies at Charles University. My adaptation to the environment of a new country was quite difficult, so as an immigrant I started attending lectures on gender in migration as part of my studies. I was very interested in this topic and wanted to do an internship in one of the organizations that helps immigrant women in the Czech Republic. That's how I got to SIMI.
A few days before my internship started, Russia invaded Ukraine. This shocked me to such an extent that for the following days I just sat quietly at home and did not communicate with anyone. I had no idea what to do in this situation as a Russian living abroad. However, when the first shock passed, I started to bring humanitarian aid to the fundraisers and, together with other activists, I prepared the newly established accommodation for refugees in Prague.
e same time, I was contacted by SIMI that my knowledge of the Russian language could be useful for working with Ukraine refugees. And that was the beginning of my experience in the organization. I talked to Ukrainian women, met with them in hotels, and translated important documents for them. Then I got involved in the Refugees Welcome project, which seeks housing for refugees from Ukraine. I called refugees at the SIMI office and as an interpreter I went with them to see apartments and sign contracts.
During those months, I spoke to dozens of women who had fled the war. Their stories shocked me, and after some of them, I would come home and cry. I heard stories of violence, murder, sexual harassment, bombings, problems finding jobs and schools for their children. This is a rather strange experience, considering that in my home country, on social media and even when talking to friends, I observe a very different narrative of the war.
This experience of living through war, volunteering and interacting with dozens of different women has changed me a lot. As a Russian woman living in the Czech Republic, I have many questions about my own identity. I started thinking more about my own privileges. Despite the sadness we are experiencing now, I have become happier: in order to help others, we must have something to draw from, that is, we must be able to rejoice and take care of ourselves as well. So I have learned to find joy in the little things and to appreciate what I have.
Terka // SIMI
Jmenuji se Tereza a jsem budoucí absolventkou magisterského oboru Genderová studia na FHS UK. Feminismus pro mě neznamená pouze rovnost žen a mužů, ale rovnost všech lidských bytostí a jejich postavení ve společnosti, které je potřeba vnímat z intersekcionální perspektivy, tedy uvědomovat si, že někteří jedinci jsou uvnitř znevýhodněných společenských skupin zranitelnější více než jiní. V rámci svého studia jsem se tak začala zajímat o téma genderu v migraci a LGBTQ migraci, kterým jsem se věnovala v rámci psaní diplomové práce i během stáže v neziskové organizaci. Migrační tématikou jako takovou jsem se rozhodla zabývat z důvodu nesouhlasu s diskriminací minoritních skupin ve společnosti, rasismem a xenofobií, které nejsou problémem pouze české společnosti, ale dle mého názoru jakýmsi často propagovaným světonázorem. Proto jsem se přihlásila na stáž do Sdružení pro integraci a migraci, kde jsem měla možnost podílet se na aktivitách zaměřených na gender a ženy-migrantky. Kombinace mého studia a stáže v této neziskové organizaci mi umožnila nejen získání hlubších znalostí a jejich využití ve své diplomové práci, ale odborné praxe do budoucna, díky které momentálně získávám nové pracovní příležitosti. Mezi ně například patří moje aktuální pozice v SIMI jako analytička/metodička a koordinátorka akcí na vybraných projektech, příležitost vyjet na služební cestu do Helsinek, kde na konci srpna proběhne valná hromada ENoMW, nebo možnost možnost moderovat panelovou diskusi na téma LGBT+ migrantů_ek v rámci Prague Pride konference.
My name is Tereza and I am a future graduate of the Master's degree in Gender Studies at FHS UK. For me, feminism does not only mean gender equality, but equality of all human beings and their position in society, which needs to be perceived from an intersectional perspective, for example: realizing that some individuals are more vulnerable than others within disadvantaged social groups. Thus, as part of my studies, I became interested in the topic of gender in migration and LGBTQ migration, which I explored during writing my thesis and my internship at a non-profit organization. As such, I decided to deal with the topic of migration because of my disagreement with discrimination against minority groups in society, racism and xenophobia, which are not only a problem of Czech society, but in my opinion a propagated worldview. Therefore, I applied for an internship at SIMI, where I had the opportunity to participate in activities focused on gender and immigrant women. The combination of my studies and my internship allowed me not only to gain deeper knowledge and use it in my thesis, but also professional practice for the future, through which I am currently gaining new job opportunities. It includes, for example, my current position at SIMI as an analyst/methodologist and event coordinator on selected projects, the opportunity to go on a business trip to Helsinki, where the ENoMW General Assembly will take place at the end of August, or the chance to host a panel discussion on LGBT+ migrants at the Prague Pride conference.