Shalin 2015

New intern for SkillsFAST: Culture as a tool for rehabilitation

New intern for SkillsFAST: Culture as a tool for rehabilitation
24 Aug 2015

Saara is Shalin’s new intern, joining us in Tanzania for three months. Because Vikuruti aims to help the reintegration of persons with special needs through vocational trainings meant to cope with environmental and nutritional challenges through agriculture, renewable energy as well as handicraft, her competences and focus on art and culture as a means for therapy and rehabilitation is a real asset to widen our range of action.

Let us introduce her through this interview!


Who are you?

I am Saara, a young and cheerful girl from Finland. I have always been very keen on discovering life in its many aspects. Every day I want to learn something new and search the world. Things that I most appreciate in life are family and freedom in its many means (freedom of choice, freedom of speech etc.).

I grew up in the countryside with my family and I spent my childhood close to nature. I got independent at a young age when I moved to the city to study.


What do you consider fundamental in your way to apprehend life?

I try to understand life. Not to take anything for granted, appreciate what I have and try to be open to the world. Respect others and their opinions. I think positive attitude makes the world a much better place for everyone – attitude is the best way to make an impact on your and others’ lives.


Why did you choose your field of studies?

I am studying to become a bachelor of culture and arts, in a degree programme of crafts and recreation. My main subject is therapeutic recreation.

It is a quite diverse area, and that is why I started studying it. I was interested in social work and have always been interested in culture, especially in arts. These studies contained both of these interests. Now I can work with people using culture as a tool for many means, mainly to recreation and rehabilitation.


Why did you choose to volunteer? Why Tanzania?

Actually whole volunteering idea came accidentally. I hadn’t planned it at all when I decided to do so. Probably if I had thought of it twice, I never would’ve done it. But I’m glad I did!

I had my internship period ahead and I didn’t have any interesting place to go. Then I heard that development studies group had visited Vikuruti farm in Tanzania, and it sounded just what my internship period should be. Without a second thought I went to my teacher to ask if it’s possible for me as well, and well… here I am!

I’ve always dreamt about travelling alone, but never thought it would be volunteering somewhere.


What do you hope to learn while in Tanzania?

First I would love to get to know the culture and also learn a bit of Swahili language to be able to communicate with local people. All in all, it’s the people that make the experience worth while.

I hope I will learn bravery to be on my own and to have more trust in myself and my choices. Also trust my professional skills more in the work environment. I hope Tanzania teaches me to see life from different aspects.

I want to see how the rehabilitation system works here, if there is something to improve but also to learn. I hope I will learn a lot, and also hope I can give something back.


What would you tell someone who is thinking of volunteering?

It takes a lot of courage to do, but it is worth it! Don’t let any fears determine what you can and can’t do. Be open to opportunities in your life.


What helped you decide to volunteer?

My classmate made her first internship in an orphanage in Tanzania, so that gave me a lot of courage to make the decision. Also my family and friends have been very supportive. Having my loved ones supporting me makes it a lot easier.




I am Elsa Guéneau, from France. After having studied history and political sciences, I am concluding my Professional Master’s Degree in International Humanitarian Action & NGOs with this internship at Shalin. I am actually interested in capacity building projects, in particular about natural resources management and sustainable agriculture. I am currently in Tanzania to support the SkillsFAST project within Vikuruti Farm, especially through the development of a business plan exploring various possibilities and the coordination between the various partners. This is a great opportunity to understand and take part in a real project implementation process and thus increasing my professional skills on managing it in the reality of the field, improving my technical knowledge about environmental, economic and social sustainability in agriculture, as well as it is a significant inspiring and humane adventure.

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