Working remotely taught me the importance of digitally disconnecting and setting boundaries
Updated: Mar 21, 2021
My name is Eloisa, I am Brazilian, but after almost 15 years living in Rome, I became officially an Italian citizen. I moved to Italy with my mother when I was a child and I believe that my personal story of migration has had a crucial impact on the choices I made in my life. I always felt the necessity to give my contribution and to support those who are in a situation of vulnerability and do not have the same opportunities I had. In order to materialize and fulfil this need, I enrolled in the master’s degree in Human Rights and Multi-level Governance and subsequently I applied for an internship at Save the Children Italy.
My first experience on the field was with Collective Aid, an independent, volunteer-run organization that aims to assist refugees and other displaced people across Europe. As a volunteer, I worked on various projects in Serbia. For me, it was a life-changing experience: it was an opportunity to get closer to the mission of the association and to catch the real sense of the impact of my work. I would recommend it to all those who want to take on new challenges and learn how and why small NGOs working on the ground can have a huge positive impact on people’s lives.
After that experience, I realized I needed and wanted a better understanding of the work “behind the scenes” of large and well-known international NGOs. Therefore, during the second year of the master, I applied for a three-months unpaid internship at Save the Children Italy. As an intern, I worked in the Italy-EU Advocacy and Policy Department, focusing mainly on domestic advocacy. My tasks were centred around the event “TuttoMondo Contest” and the activities of the Italian NGO Group for the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), coordinated by Save the Children Italy. I started editing the 11th Follow-Up Report on the monitoring of the CRC, drafted by the Italian NGO Group for the CRC. Afterwards, my tutors also involved me in the elaboration of the communication strategies for the promotion of the Report. Due to the pandemic, we promoted it only through a range of webinars. On that occasion, I had the chance to work directly and indirectly with associations, NGOs, cooperatives, foundations, institutions and the media. It was a precious opportunity to network and learn how to effectively communicate with several different stakeholders. My tutors always gave me autonomy and trust, asking for my feedback during the whole process of the promotion. My second main task was to create the social media strategy and content for the event “TuttoMondo Contest”, an art contest for children and teenagers. I also had the chance to participate in the final award ceremony, in Rome, giving my contribution for the organization of the online event. Throughout the internship, I also updated and wrote news articles for the website of the NGO Group for the CRC through which I could enlarge my knowledge in children’s rights.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the internship was held remotely; however, I had the possibility to go to the headquarter in Rome a few times. The challenges of online working were very numerous: I could not experience the daily life in the office and cultivate strong relationships with co-workers. Often, I had the impression to be “always online”, and this had a negative impact on my work-life balance. I am grateful for the experience because it taught me how to efficiently communicate in a work environment and how to express my needs, doubts and ideas in a clear and decisive manner. Save the Children’s staff is deeply committed to the organization’s values and I was pleased to work with people who share my passion and determination to protect children’s rights. Above all, I have understood the importance of digitally disconnecting from work and to set boundaries: even if it is ‘just’ an internship, you have the right to be heard and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Written by Eloisa Caixeta Cunha
Edited by Giulia Rosina
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Eloisa Caixeta Cunha is a second-year human rights student, passionate about migrants and refugees’ rights, sustainability and education. Follow Eloisa's story on Instagram @eloisacai and Facebook @Eloisa Caixeta.
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