Pese interned as a researcher at Sahyog in Mumbai, to help initiate a resource directory for disability services for low income families living in the Ghatkopar and Kurla areas.
“Sahyog is an organisation that works to empower women and children of all abilities from low income communities who face discriminatory practices right from birth. The issues these communities face, although it may not be on a similar scale, are eerily similar to New Zealand's ethnic divide. As a Pacific woman I see this first hand, with my family receiving inadequate health care and education like many in the Pacific and Māori communities as a whole.
“As a potential health promoter I hope to work within communities to empower their influence on their environment. Set up right in the centre of the slum community, Sahyog has worked for over 15 years to gain the trust of the community, laying the foundation of a more socially aware neighbourhood in order to create more equitable outcomes between women and men, abled and disabled.”
As a career I would like to get into health management or policy development. This internship helped me gain a greater knowledge of the importance of international relationships.
“Collaboration is key in Mumbai, home to 19 million people. As the population grows the government's resources are spread thin and it is primarily private organisations that provide the services and resources needed. I went to over 30 organisations within the same area, but the majority were unaware of Sahyog’s services. I wanted to help bridge this gap through more face-to-face meetings, advocating for more collaborative work.
“Professionally, the internship has given me greater confidence to network and stay connected. I developed my communication skills and also learned how to create standard operating procedures. I was able to observe the functioning of a community-based programme and work to create a plan of action for a new project. It made me think critically about realistic goals and resourcing.
“I am now better able to network with people and have a better understanding of health and education systems, disability accessible services, as well as the importance of empowering the community to create and maintain a collective change in culture, environments and policies. All of this will contribute to a future career in health management.”
You can read more about Pese’s global internship in her blog posts.