For the second straight year, ten students from Ateneo de Davao University in the Philippines had their overseas internship with WEAVE (Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment) from April 20 to May 17, 2011 in Thailand. The ten students, all taking up International Studies major in Asian studies, were accompanied by Mr. Akeem Jade G. Fabila, a faulty of the International Studies program in the said institution.
But before having their internship proper the students first had a 3-day stop in Bangkok where they visited the world renowned Grand Palace and the busy Chantuchak weekend market. Also the group was able to pay a courtesy call at the Philippine embassy where they were welcomed by Ms. Maria Teresa Taguiang, the Deputy Chief of Mission.
Then on the 20th of April, the students finally arrived in Chiang Mai where they were warmly welcomed by the WEAVE staff based in the area headed by Executive Director Mitos Urgel. The first day also served as an orientation day for the students before they would be divided in two groups, the Chiang Mai group namely Paola Manulid, Claudine Libre, Jake Almanzor, Aizel Apa-ap and Adrianne Askali and the Mae Sot group namely Hannah Doroteo, Iona Tagalog, Kim Calatrava, Johanna Aleman and Dawn Mosqueda who will be traveling to the said town to work under the Income Generation Project.
In Chiang Mai, the students were expose to a variety of organizational and management work, including fundraising, staff development, documentation, office administration, to mention a few. Additionally, the interns also recreated WEAVE’s library, mailing list and visited other NGO’s working in Chiang Mai. Also the group had the chance to visit WEAVE’s field office and a refugee camp in Mae Hong son. They had a chance to meet and interact with two Karenni groups, first to a group of young teachers – where the interns conducted a seminar workshop on effective communication and secondly, to a group that provides cross-border support in Karenni State. Both events did not only allowed fun interaction but also meaningful cross-culture learning and sharing.
Meanwhile in Mae Sot, the group got immersed in the Fairtrade and marketing work of WEAVE. They had the chance to learn the process of doing product inventory, learning about shop merchandizing and its application as well as to meet and interact with the customers as well as write promotional articles. The students also had a chance to visit the Umphiem Mai Camp and interact with the people in the area as well as attend local and traditional festivities.
This summer internship was indeed a memorable experience for all the students. They did not only have the direct work experience in carrying out some of WEAVE’s work but also became aware of the current realities, challenges and opportunities outside the environment they are living in.