What I've learnt: intern Jodie on her time at Freedom from Torture
Jodie Larsen is Freedom from Torture's Campaigns and Communications intern. A full-time university student based in London, she joined the organisation in June 2011 and has been instrumental in many of the achievements of the Campaigns and Communications team. Jodie's time as an intern will shortly be coming to an end, to enable her to concentrate on her studies.
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Jodie Larsen and I am currently in my final year studying for a degree in International Development at the University of East London. I'm originally from Norwich.
How did you find out about us and why did you choose to work with us?
I came across Freedom from Torture whilst researching the criminalisation of asylum seekers in the UK. When the Campaigns and Communications intern position came up I was keen to apply as I wanted to learn about torture rehabilitation and the asylum system in the UK – and get stuck into some campaigning!
You have been working for Freedom from Torture for a while now. How has the organisation differed from you preconceptions?
My preconceptions about Freedom from Torture (and how a fairly large NGO operates) was quite limited, as I had previously worked at a small, solely campaigning organisation. However, Freedom from Torture's capacity to achieve its goals is huge – and it can be done very quickly within a very fast-paced environment when needs be (e.g. we mobilised a successful campaign around Sri Lanka during the 2011 Party Conferences).
What have you learnt?
Working with survivors of torture in communications work and in campaigning has brought up a huge array of issues. Throughout my time here I have learnt about safeguarding guidelines and the difficulties and rewards that coincide with such work.
I have learnt to develop text and material for the website, how to create the right language and tone for a piece, as well as how to create resources for activists.
Whilst helping organise conferences I have seen the development of communications, campaigns and policy work all coming together around one particular issue. My knowledge of torture survivors and issues around UK immigration and asylum has expanded tenfold!
Where will you go next and how to you think working with us will help?
My time at Freedom from Torture and the issues I have worked around has become the springboard for much of my final year thesis at university. When I finish my studies – and sadly end my time at Freedom from Torture – I hope to travel and then work within the refugee sector and/or women's rights within development. Interning at Freedom from Torture has enabled me to see how an NGO runs and manages its work. It has given me the skills and confidence to further my career.
If you could change something in the world what would it be?
For everyone to have freedom of speech.