International Law and Human Rights Internships in South Africa
- Placement location: Cape Town
- Role: Legal representation of people unable to afford legal help and presenting workshops to them.
- Types of Placement: Projects Abroad Human Rights Office
- Accommodation: Host family
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
With its sad history of apartheid and colonialism, South Africa is an important place to get involved in campaigning for human rights and make a real impact on people’s lives.
Our Law & Human Rights internships in South Africa are based in the bustling city of Cape Town. Although voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town maintains a noticeable disparity between rich and poor. A huge indicator of this can be seen when flying into Cape Town International Airport and viewing the housing situation below.
Interning on our Law and Human Rights project in South Africa will give you the opportunity to work on truly worthwhile projects, alongside likeminded interns and passionate staff. You will gain first-hand experience of law and human rights work in practice, gain knowledge about the legal system, and learn about community involvement. Interns are given the opportunity to get involved at grass roots level, raising awareness about human rights to a variety of people throughout the Western Cape.
We have welcomed many interns, from high school and college students to graduates and professionals. The work is suitable to all who have a general interest in human rights and are willing to work hard and dedicate their time to improving the lives of others.
The Projects Abroad Human Rights Office in Cape Town
An international internship with Projects Abroad in Cape Town would be a valuable experience. Interns are based at the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office, fondly known as PAHRO, which is located in the Rondebosch area of Cape Town. Your precise role within the project will be determined by your background, legal knowledge, and level of interest in specific areas.
I never expected the incredible opportunities that I would have while working at the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office. I learned more in my month of interning then I ever could have imagined. It was the first time in my life where I felt like I was doing tangible work, and at the same time, I was actually touching the lives of people. Read more...
The collective mission of the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office is to promote respect for human rights and human dignity by providing good quality, independent legal advice to the poor and vulnerable and also to participate in social justice.
In this regard we cover a broad spectrum of topics within our office. If you want to read more about the office and get an idea of the areas of work we cover, as well as details on the current projects, please visit the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office website.
Legal Experience Abroad in South Africa
The Projects Abroad Human Rights Office offers free and independent legal advice to those who need it most and our clients come from a number of sources. Many people we work with are clients who come into our offices after hearing about our organization through word of mouth. Communities here are very close and word travels quickly about what we do and how we have helped others. We also conduct free legal clinics in disadvantaged communities for those who are unable to visit us in the office.
There are a variety of case topics we deal with including, domestic violence and matrimonial matters, labor law, housing matters, human rights violation referrals from the South Africa Human Rights Comission (SAHRC), and possibly our biggest area - refugee rights. Immigrant and refugee rights have become a huge part of the work we do. Due to the instability of a number of countries within the region, South Africa has become a central assembly point for refugees.
Interning on the Law & Human Rights Project in South Africa
Your legal experience will determine the level of legal work you will be involved in and some of the more important, complex legal work may be reserved for those who have legal experience. It is also important that you have a good level of English to participate in this project. Strong English skills are especially relevant if you wish to work with the legal services.
Your placement will typically involve several elements. You might be producing information resources, such as research reports or consulting with clients, or handling case work and writing up legal opinions on these cases. At other times you might coordinate and run workshops in the community on specific human rights aspects. There is plenty for you to become involved with and you will definitely be kept busy!
Law & Human Rights interns should expect to work from 8.30am to 4.30pm from Monday to Thursday and then 8.30 to 1.00pm on Fridays. All interns need to show a good level of initiative; how much you get out of this experience is related to what you are prepared to put in. Interns who get involved, ask questions, and make an impact on their supervisors will have a fantastic learning experience.
All interns need to be flexible, communicate well, and work hard as internships are demanding and must be taken seriously. You will be representing a professional organization and you may sometimes have deadlines to meet.
The Projects Abroad Human Rights office closes over the Christmas and New Year period, from the 23 December – 2 January. This is due to the courts, Parliament, and our project partners being closed for the vacation.
While interns can join this project from 2 weeks or longer, we recommend that interns join us for as long as possible. Those interning for 2 to 4 weeks sometimes find that it is not long enough to get as involved as they would have wanted to. However, if you show initiative and fully commit yourself to your work then you are able to get a great amount out of whatever length of time you spend here.
All interns taking part in any of the Cape Town based projects in South Africa have the opportunity to add a 7-Day Conservation Project to the end of their main placement. For more information visit our Conservation in South Africa project page.
If you have qualifications or experience in this field then we can make use of your skills volunteering abroad as a professional in South Africa. If you are a high school student and first-time traveler you may want to consider our High School Special programs in South Africa.