Life As A Deki Intern
By Rebecca Berry
After finishing my second year of university, the prospect of graduating and entering the ‘real world’ was terrifying to say the least. I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career but after volunteering in Tanzania in 2013, there was something inside of me saying ‘do something good’, the exact same thing that Deki’s founder, Vashti Seth was told to do by her father – It must be fate!
With more and more people going to university, getting a degree is no longer enough when applying for jobs. You need experience. You need the extra edge that is going to set you apart from the thousands of other grads also looking for jobs. Internships are the perfect way of gaining the hands-on experience needed to add skills to your CV and answer those tough interview questions.
Envious of friends who had their careers all planned out, I applied to Bristol Hub’s Social Impact Internship Scheme in the hope that it will help me narrow down my options. They gave me three potential internships and I chose a fundraising internship at Deki – I was very curious to learn more about microfinance and the work that Deki does.
The most common questions my friends asked were ‘What is microfinance?’, ‘Why is it called Deki?’ and the biggest question of all: ‘Why would you want to do an internship?”
I think it’s safe to say I learnt more in the Deki office than I have sitting in a lecture hall or writing essays. One of my favourite tasks at Deki was writing entrepreneur success stories for the annual report. This gave me the opportunity to read through questionnaires with entrepreneurs stating how their life has changed as a result of their Deki loan. It was incredibly satisfying seeing that the work of a small team in Bristol can change the lives of thousands of individuals in Africa. One story that I found particularly compelling was Rose Madakiwa, a single mother in Malawi who cares for five children and two orphans. Deki’s loan lifted her and her family out of poverty and she is now financially independent and has even built her own home.
What I loved most about working at Deki, was how close-knit the office is. They really do value the work of their interns and they take time out of their busy day to ensure that they are happy. The Deki office is very warm and welcoming and Dawn’s famous chocolate brownies definitely lived up to their reputation! They really appreciate every donation they receive – I couldn’t get over how excited they were to receive £18.00 in loose change from the local fish and chip shop! My desk was in front of a whiteboard where they wrote each individual donation they received that month, a real motivator to keep working hard!
I would encourage anyone else wanting to gain experience in the charity sector to take up an internship with Deki. They give me the opportunity to be in charge of my own projects and I was definitely not just making the coffee! I have gained numerous skills to add to my CV and I can now go into my third year of university knowing that I have the skills required to apply for a job in the charity sector.