Meet our Interns: Susy

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NOVEMBER, 2016

Meet Susanne, a young professional from Germany, who joined environmental NGO Greenpop to volunteer her time and use her skills and experience for a worthwhile cause.

I’m Susanne, nickname Susy, 31 year young from Germany and joined Greenpop in October 2016 as a volunteer. Half a year earlier I quit my well-paid job in a big corporation, looking for an organisation with spirit that has a positive impact on the world. When I applied in September last year, I was so excited. I knew that Greenpop is the place where I wanted to be. Although I was overqualified for the ‘standard’ internships, Greenpop was very keen to work with me on several other projects, so six weeks later I was in Cape Town. Till the end of the year I supported the HR department in the recruiting process and after that I got involved with the planting department. I am specialized in project management and handled big amounts of data in my previous jobs, so it made sense they asked me to have a look at their planting and monitoring spreadsheets. That’s when really exciting times began. I have a passion for detail and data integrity but at the same time understand the bigger picture. So I cleaned up old spreadsheets, set up a new database and optimized the reporting system according to Greenpop’s needs.

That was my official work, but between all that I found a new family far away from home. I heard of words like startup spirit and being close with colleagues, but I never experienced that before. Working in a huge company with thousands of employees, I loved working in project management and my small teams. However, the bigger picture was difficult to understand. I had the feeling (and not only me) that the employees and their needs don’t count. It’s all about profit. And that’s what brought this world into the state we currently live in. Mother earth will survive without the human species. But we won’t survive without fresh water, regulated climate, food, forests & oxygen. In Cape Town I found so many people that care and take action. Not only during working hours but as well generally in their life. In one of the Monday morning meetings we talked about the shift in consciousness happening all over the world. My own awakening is still going on, but Greenpop and the amazing people involved with them had a positive impact on my journey. Without them I would nevertheless work on myself and my surrounding, but engaging with them definitely gave me a huge push. There is this African proverb which reflects what Greenpop stands for from my perspective “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. I felt so in the right place that I extended my visa and stayed for an extra three months.

When I applied in September last year, I was so excited. I knew that Greenpop is the place where I wanted to be.”

At the Platbos Reforest Fest in March I was part of the production team and managing the Food Court. My visa expired end of April, so as my next destination I choose Zambia. That way I could still work on my project with Greenpop Cape Town via internet, get involved in the planting activities in Livingstone and join the Festival of Action in Livingstone, Zambia. During that festival I was in charge of all finances, activity bookings and the merchandise shop. And that’s what I also I love about the Greenpop management: They see potential in people, encourage them and give them the freedom and space to develop and make a change within the company. That’s why as an intern or volunteer you feel part of a family and they really are, from the first day in the office. Respect and tolerance are not only words in this organisation. Not only in Cape Town but as well in Livingstone, Zambia. I had the chance to be part of the team there, too. I could write thousands of words alone about the Festival of Action and still wouldn’t be able to describe the extraordinary experience I had with the team, the volunteers from all over the world and with the communities. But for now I am back in Cape Town and still part of the family.

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Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.

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