Today we are bidding farewell to Johanna Sassenrath, who has been working as an intern in Livingstone with our charity The Happy Africa Foundation since September 2013. A one-time volunteer at our projects in St Lucia, she decided to intern after graduating high school before preparing to study at a post-secondary institution in the UK.
“It’s made a big difference for me to come here and see all of this and work here,” said Johanna, a native of Germany, of her interning experience.
Having worked on a number of initiatives, including the erection of a borehole house that secured a water source for a school, and lengthy renovations at a Livingstone elderly residence, Johanna feels she’s accomplished many tasks on behalf of the charity while learning new skills she’ll put to use when furthering her education.
Johanna points out that clearing the ground to begin the building of the Linda Clinic was a highlight of hers, as well as any time that she was able to really get immersed in the local communities and culture.
“The times where I got to talk to the community members a lot and I was involved working with them – I loved it.”
Fundraising events like movie nights, social evenings and organizing online donations through forums like Global Giving were also responsibilities that fell on Johanna. She helped facilitate large contributions both on the ground in Livingstone and online, and she forged relationships with local community members all while working alongside the rest of the charity team in Zambia.
Along with perfecting her writing abilities through grant applications and news updates for the charity’s website, Johanna says doing a six-month internship has allowed her to become more open-minded and well rounded.
“The internship has given me the opportunity to see what it’s going to be like in the future when I study international development,” she elaborated.
“I realized (while finishing my applications to universities) how much I actually learned,” explained Johanna. “It’s not just working in the office and knowing how things work at the charity it’s a lot about seeing things in the community and learning from people’s lives.”
Despite a bittersweet end that’s leading to incredible new opportunities and a new beginning at university, Johanna is certain she’ll be back to help communities on the African continent.
“I’ll definitely miss it, but also I think it’s given me the opportunity to give what I had to give and now I feel like I have to go back to school and get more skills in order to come back.