Campus & Community

Bhumi picks interns for summer abroad

4 min read

Bhumi, the Harvard International Development Group, has announced the selection of three Harvard University students to spend the summer abroad as interns. The Bhumi Internship Committee, consisting of Harvard administrators and Bhumi members, selected the three interns from a pool of 22 applicants. The interns will work with small, grassroots nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Malaysia, Nicaragua, and Senegal.

The Bhumi Summer Internship Program was established in 1997 as a way for Harvard students to volunteer with NGOs in developing countries. Bhumi has direct contact with more than 25 NGOs interested in receiving Harvard student interns. These NGOs address various aspects of grassroots development including public health, human rights, education, microfinance, and environmental activism.

Of the 25 NGOs, Bhumi selected three successful programs based on past intern experience. The three internships are with the Women’s Aid Organization in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Proleña in Managua, Nicaragua; and Eco Yoff in Yoff, Senegal. Bhumi is providing funding for the internships in Malaysia and Senegal with partial scholarships of $600 and $800, respectively. In addition, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University provided a grant of $1,000 for the internship in Nicaragua.

2001 Bhumi Summer Program interns

Tonushree Jaggi, a first-semester senior in Lowell House concentrating in economics, will spend this summer with the Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. WAO works with victims of domestic violence and helps women with legal advocacy, education, and loans. WAO gives refuge to the children from such homes, providing them with full care until the women are able to support their children. As an intern, Jaggi will work on publicity, outreach, and fundraising for the organization, in addition to working with the children at the WAO’s Center. Jaggi expects to graduate from Harvard College with a B.A. in economics in January 2002. Her course work includes South Asian studies and women’s studies. Outside of class, she is cultural chair of the Harvard-Radcliffe South Asian Association and co-president of the Harvard-Radcliffe South Asian Dance Organization, and served as shelter supervisor of the University Lutheran Homeless Shelter. During a semester abroad in spring 1999, she was the assistant producer and co-scriptwriter for “Odissi Chandrika,” a documentary film for Door Darshan television in New Delhi, India.

Frances Tilney, a junior in Mather House concentrating in the history and literature of America, will spend this summer with Proleña in Managua, Nicaragua. Proleña’s mission is to promote the modernization of the use and production of wood energy in Nicaragua. The NGO works with government and international donor agencies to design policies and strategies that address the needs of wood energy in households and small rural industries, for forest protection, and for new applications of biomass such as power generation. Two current projects include Ecostove dissemination and creation of a forest replacement association among small-fuel wood-consuming industries. Tilney will work on these two projects, based in Managua, with frequent trips to the surrounding villages. An accomplished journalist, Tilney is editor in chief of “Fifteen Minutes,” the weekly magazine of The Harvard Crimson. She has also been associate editor for “Let’s Go: Mexico” and research writer for “Let’s Go: Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.” Before coming to Harvard, she took a year off to teach English in rural Costa Rica and work as a Spanish translator at a homeless shelter in London.

Leila Chirayath, a first-year student planning to concentrate in social studies, will spend the summer with Eco Yoff in Yoff, Senegal. The Eco Yoff Program operates as a laboratory for the sustainable development of an eco-community, defined to include not only humans but also their ecosystem and its sacred sites. The Commune of Yoff is faced with the need to integrate an old fishing and farming village with 24 new “cites,” many of which are company housing for state enterprises, banks, and airlines.

Chirayath will help coordinate Pictures for Pictures, part of the education and training branch of Eco Yoff. In collaboration with local preschool teachers, the project aims to make preschool learning and literacy materials available to villagers. The internship will involve both in-the-field training and exposure to an academic/theoretical framework in participatory development methods.

Before coming to Harvard, Chirayath spent six months as an English teacher in Ghana. In her freshman seminar on development dilemma, she explored the role of the Peace Corps in introducing Western models of education in developing countries.