Richelle George on how to get involved with NGOs | #WeAreCambridge

Richelle George on how to get involved with NGOs | #WeAreCambridge


Hi, my name’s Richelle. I’m from Saint
Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean. I studied HSPS at Cambridge focusing on
Social Anthropology and now I’m an intern in the World Health Organization’s
Health Emergencies Department. I wanted to look with the World Health
Organization because it was unlike any internship I’d done before. I’m from a
developing island in the Caribbean and I’ve done work experience there and in
other developing countries I worked in India last summer but I’ve never worked
in the headquarters of an international organisation, so I wanted to see kind of
the flipside of development work. My previous internship was with SEWA which
is on the largest women’s trade union in India and I got to do a lot of fieldwork
that which was really fun so I got to go out to specifically Jahangirpuri which
is a low-income neighbourhood in New Delhi and speak to SEWA members and
women who are looking to become SEWA members about how their lives can be
improved by a trade union. At the WHO my work is a lot more in the office, so
right now I’m supporting the Ebola Risk Communication and Community Engagement
Team. So all the work is mainly making sure that people on the ground in
eastern DRC for this current outbreak have the right tools to be able to
communicate risk to communities and to make sure that the WHO is working with
communities and not trying to tell them what to do or acting in a way that
would cause communities to resist. I think my time at Cambridge, not only did
it help me get the internship in a practical sense in terms of the fact
that I got the internship through the Careers Service but also it helped me to
deal with difficult situations and to learn how to respond to challenges and
kind of not give up to deal with adversity. I think that’s a really useful
skill to have in the workplace. I think for me I came from a state school
background and also being a woman of an ethnic minority background – sometimes
Cambridge can be a particularly challenging place. Historically people
like me weren’t the kind of people who went to Cambridge so
it can feel sometimes lonely and I think it told me how to not underestimate
myself and to believe that in the right circumstances with the right kind of
support from institutions, with the right kind of changes in institutions that
people who weren’t typically the kind of population who went to Cambridge can
still go there and achieve great things. I was always very inspired by the
student activists who I came into contact with and who I worked whilst
I was there and the kind of dedication that they showed, the sacrifices that
they made, putting aside time where they could have been working to really
campaign and work with the University on many different things.
I’m just feeling also inspired by people who had to work very hard and paved the
way for them to be there.

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