After finishing my undergraduate degree, I had the incredible opportunity to live and work in South India, teaching girls and young women conversational English and volunteering at different women’s organizations. It was there that I fell in love with youth-centered service work, and am now pursuing my Masters in Social Work at the University of Chicago, focusing on international social work. After graduating, I hope to find work with an internationally-focused organization that invests in, supports, and empowers vulnerable youth and young adults around the world.
I am excited to start my work as the Transitions Initiative Intern with IOFA! This summer, I will be in Addis Ababa doing research on the experience of adolescents who have left institutional care (orphanages, group homes, etc.) to make their own way in the world. Youth and young adults who lack the support of family networks face severe challenges in transitioning to adulthood, and are much more vulnerable to the problems of exploitation, poverty, and violence. Throughout the next two months, I will be working with local organizations to identify and interview individuals who grew up without traditional family support and record their transition stories.
I have been in Addis for only 10 days, but am already falling in love with the city and its people. As I meet with organizational directors, humanitarian workers, and children at group homes/orphanages, I am learning much about the needs of these youth and am energized and inspired to continue the amazing work that IOFA does with the Transitions Initiative.