Intern Spotlight: Larissa, NGO Assistant

In my blog about Florian, I mentioned that I would be shining a spotlight on multiple interns and the work that they do to progress Globalteer’s organizational goals. The aim of this series of blogs is to highlight the great work being done by our interns along with giving prospective interns a practical understanding of the work that they would do should they apply for one of Globalteer’s internships.

Next up on this series of blogs is NGO Assistant and Brazilian national, Larissa.

Larissa with students in Cusco Peru"
Larissa with students in Cusco Peru"

Background

Larissa was born in Rio de Janeiro, but moved to Teófilo Otoni when she was four. The daughter of two medical doctors, Larissa was expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps. However, Larissa had other plans for herself.

Dreaming of a career in international relations, Larissa moved to Belo Horizonte to attend PUC Minas. She chose a degree in international relations with the intention of becoming a diplomat. However, a class on public international law exposed her to international human rights law, and from there, she was hooked. Larissa knew that she wanted to work in human rights, development aid, and helping vulnerable people.

Larissa with Picaflor staff and students"
Larissa playing football with the children"

To reach this goal, as many of her university assignments as possible focussed on human rights. Larissa also volunteered, wrote blogs, and was a research intern at an international NGO. Finally, Larissa was part of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Chairs Model, a project at her university in collaboration with UNHCR, where she worked to help Venezuelan and Haitian refugees. Here, she helped refugees by helping them to learn their status, to bring their family members to Brazil, and offering online help. Working here had a profound impact on Larissa, who says that the experience made her more empathetic. She was able to see first-hand how unprotected refugees were and how homesick they were.

Larissa left the project after graduating in July 2022. After being unable to find a job in her desired field, she took up a position in foreign trade. Larissa was never able to find happiness in this area of work as it was incompatible with her purpose. She then applied to be the NGO assistant at Globalteer as this would give her experience working at an NGO in the area of work that she would like to build a career in.

Larissa with children at Picaflor House"
Larissa teaching children at Picaflor House"

Life at Globalteer

As the NGO Assistant at Picaflor House, Larissa supports teachers with their classes and teaches a class on child safety. The aim of this class is to improve the children’s self-awareness and self-esteem, and to make them conscious of danger. This class aims to prevent psychological and physical abuse, along with teaching the children safety in other contexts such as walking at night.

In addition to the child safety classes, Larissa is developing a class on women empowerment. This class is not for girls only, but for all children at Picaflor. This class aims to address stereotypes about women and girls, as well as recognizing women and girls’ value in Peruvian society. This class wants to empower girls to take charge of their destinies, whether they want to be stay-at-home parents, or they want to pursue a particular career. Larissa is developing this class because, according to statistics, Peru has the highest gender inequality figures in Latin America.

Larissa with students"
Larissa and Florian with students"

Favourite parts of internship

A move to Peru satisfied Larissa’s desire to travel and learn about Latin American countries. She also enjoys living in a household with people from different countries. Larissa enjoys being able to get along with people and reach common ground despite their differences.

Cusco’s high altitude is also something that Larissa has come to appreciate. To Larissa, Cusco challenges her physical ability due to its altitude. To combat this, she goes to the gym six days a week to stay fit. She jokes that the only reason that she doesn’t go to the gym on Sundays is because the gym is closed.

Finally, Larissa enjoys the space and creative licence given to her to create classes, games, and activities at Picaflor. She enjoys the challenge of trying to balance learning and fun with the children.

Challenges of Internship

As her duties entail discussing sensitive topics with the children, establishing  a connection with them so that they can participate in class was initially challenging. Fortunately for Larissa, the children are now confident and vocal in the classes.

Homesickness has been another challenge for Larissa. Being away from her family, especially her younger sister, and her boyfriend has been challenging at times.

Larissa with children at Picaflor House"
Larissa (central) playing football with students"

Conclusion

Working at Picaflor has given Larissa experience working with communities in need. To her, this has been a transformative experience as she learns at the same time as the children. The children are lovable, affectionate, and the connections made are priceless. Working at Picaflor has improved her self-confidence and her skills due to the creative licence that she has to do her job. Larissa encourages anyone who wants a role as rewarding as this to apply for an internship at Globalteer.