Mi Práctica: Alianza por la Solidaridad
Before I got to Spain, I spent an excessive amount of time exploring the Tufts-Skidmore Spain website, anticipating every little detail of the program that I would soon embark on. One of the aspects that both scared and intrigued me was the possibility of doing an internship abroad. The thought of interning in another language stunned me, as they tend to be hard enough in your native language! However, I was determined to take all the opportunities I was given, and when I read the description for Alianza por la Solidaridad, I was sold. The non-profit is dedicated to sustainability, migrant’s rights, and women’s rights, through offices worldwide. I really couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the description, as it somehow includes everything I am most interested in. It seemed like a perfect fit, so I eagerly applied and met with the staff upon arriving in Madrid.
I started off working at the organization’s gift shop, which provides lots of funding for its projects, called La Tienda Solidaria. It is located in La Casa Encendida, which is a very cool cultural center with exhibition space, multiple workspaces, and a café. I really enjoyed exploring the space and taking stock of the multitude of fair trade, eco friendly products sold in the store, as well as chatting with visitors. I worked there for a few weeks, but since my main interests lie in the office and event work of the organization, I got in touch with my supervisor to see if I could get involved with the projects done in the office.
For the past few weeks, I have been working weekly at the office with a woman named Julissa who works closely with projects regarding immigrant women in Spain. One of the groups she works with is called Stop Rumores, which is based in debunking rumors and social prejudices towards minority groups in Spain. This group creates visual tools to disprove biases, such as the misconception that immigrants rely on social services more than Spaniards do. I have been reading studies done by Alianza and other groups to gather information and statistics about a very problematic rumor in Spain: that immigrant women are not politically active or active participants in their communities. What people don’t realize is that a large percentage of immigrant women in Spain work 12-14 hour workdays without breaks or holidays, which prohibits them from being able to attend many community events. Many of these events are also heavily publicized and this can attract police presence, which is another deterrent for families who may not have papers and therefore do not feel safe in a police space.
This week I attended a world peace forum hosted at El Matadero, a converted slaughterhouse that is now an exhibition space. I tabled for Alianza with two fellow interns and helped answer questions about the gender equality education program Alianza is working on in Colombia. This internship has allowed me to gain experience in a field I am very interested in, as well as language experience as I am building my vocabulary in a Spanish speaking work environment. It has no doubt been a very valuable part of my study abroad experience!
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