My name is Caterina Raimondi. I am a Swiss and Italian citizen currently living in the UK and studying an MSc in Environment and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I was born and raised as a Third Culture Kid, moving with my family as my mother worked postings in new countries every four or five years. I have always appreciated this aspect of my upbringing and feel that it has shaped my interests and ambitions for working in the non-profit sector. Applying for an internship with YUVA was an amazing way for me to start gaining some insight and experience in this field.
In the past month volunteering with YUVA, I had the opportunity of contributing to three tasks, mostly doing research and editing. My first task involved joining a webinar attended by members and representatives of a variety of non-profits and civil society organisations, who were invited to discuss their involvement in India’s progress towards meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Following this webinar, I helped co-author the report, which summarised the webinar and highlighted points for further action. After this task, I began my research for a literature review on the subject of SDGs in India. The aim of this was to contextualise India’s challenges towards achieving the SDGs and the ‘Leave No-one Behind’ principle. This work focused on the situation in urban settings, the circumstances of the most vulnerable, and the urgent need to address these challenges in a more inclusive and targeted manner. My final task was to complete some editing on a first draft report. For this I was asked to read through the document and make corrections/suggestions as needed.
The internship, for one, made me more aware of the array of challenges and obstacles that are faced when tackling problems of poverty, inequality and human rights. I learnt that addressing development starts not with the implementation of policy to enhance and innovate, but with an understanding of who has been neglected from such policy in the past and who fails to benefit from such innovations. The situation in India is unique in this regard, and one that needs urgent attention. Achieving development, particularly the SDGs, requires a rectification of social and political injustices that have shaped society and been historically embedded into culture and practice. Interning with YUVA revealed to me the extent of these issues and the conditions of vulnerability that they exacerbate for India’s urban poor. From my understanding, India’s journey towards tackling inequalities and development is an endeavour which requires much deeper structural changes. It is evident that the challenge is a big one, but on that note, interning with YUVA also allowed me to remain positive about prospects for action and solutions to such problems.
Throughout the entire internship I felt guided and supported. Although the internship was remote, and there was quite a substantial time difference between myself and the team at YUVA, communication was smooth and timely. I never felt confused about what was expected of me, and was always given adequate time and flexibility to deliver my tasks. I also felt that YUVA took the time to consider my preferences and ensure that I would have the chance to contribute to tasks that touched upon areas of my interest. I found the subjects extremely interesting and eye-opening. With aspirations to work for a non-profit upon completing my post-graduate studies, I definitely feel that this experience has been informative and encouraging, pushing me to pursue this dream. In summary, my opportunity with YUVA has been enriching and I feel very grateful for having had this experience. Learning about the inner workings of a non-profit and their role in representing, documenting and addressing issues in society has been my main takeaway from this opportunity.
Caterina Raimondi, MSc — Environment and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Caterina interned with YUVA from December 2020–January 2021.