For the semester, one of my colleagues and I have taken up internships in the New Horizons Foundation's office in Lupeni. Our official job title lists us as “English-Language Communication Assistants”. This position primarily consists of taking materials that where originally written in Romanian and have since been loosely translated into English, and perfecting them to be concrete and comprehensible materials for native English-speakers. Why is this important you might ask, if New Horizons is a Romanian organization, therefore with a Romanian audience? Well, because NHF is such an easily replicable organization, IMPACT groups have begun to spread within the United States. By improving the quality of materials in English, it’s hoped that the IMPACT program will become increasingly accessible and adaptable, and hopefully flourish on an even greater scale. One of the things I personally find so cool is that a community does not have to work to fit itself to an IMPACT club; rather, the IMPACT club adopts to fit the needs of a community. And really, shouldn’t this be the way all good deeds flow?
I originally wanted to intern with NHF to see community development work at an up close and personal level. From what I observe on a daily basis, NHF works as an umbrella and a resource for their clubs across Romania. They do not follow the details of each club meeting, nor do they force clubs to pick certain projects that they see as optimal. This might allow room for messing up; a club might have ups and downs as a group, or might have a project that is a total flop. However, I get the sense that this is ok, because all the while club leaders and members were using their minds and energy to see what their community's needs were. And that is one of the biggest things a development organization can hope for, because changing one’s mindset to think beyond oneself is the only way we can breach the barrier of selfishness we each have, and begin to heal our communities as a whole. If my work to bring new materials to the table can help this along, well, then I consider my internship a success.
For more information on NHF or IMPACT check out: www.noi-orizonturi.ro