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Interns Make Their Difference in London

Apr 26, 2016 5:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

p1030837_2_2-227x300-2.jpgWords by Fritha Vincenta social entrepreneur, fundraiser, performance coach and CAPA Internship Site Supervisor.

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My name is Fritha Vincent. I am a social entrepreneur, fundraiser and performance coach. I run a limited company in UK called Believe YOU can make a difference Ltd.  Myself and a small team of freelancers offer charity management and fundraising services to small charities and start up social businesses. As we lead on both strategic and day-to-day matters, our days are very busy. Our two main clients are UK-registered charity, Adventure Ashram and UK-registered social business, Secret Pillow Project.

I feel very fortunate to also play a role as a CAPA Internship Site Supervisor. My company offers internships to CAPA students who come to London to take part in an accredited internship alongside their academic classes.

One day, Kristin Dean, Director of Academic Affairs for CAPA London, invited me to come to CAPA and run speed-coaching sessions with the students to help them to maximize their sense of fulfillment in their internship positions. I quickly learned about the diverse organizations the interns were working for and I heard about some of the wild and wonderful things they got up too.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Intern_SecretPillowProject_Katy_Putzker_in_her_Rally_Kit._Katy_did_all_the_ticket_management_for_our_130_person_annual_car_and_bike_rally..jpg
Photo: CAPA London intern Katy Putzker in her Rally Kit. Katy did all the ticket management for our 130 person annual car and bike rally.

Every time I left CAPA, I thought, CAPA interns would have a great time working at of Believe YOU can make a difference Ltd. helping on Adventure Ashram and Secret Pillow Project. With Kristin’s support, I applied to the internships team and explained the roles I could offer CAPA London students.

I'll give you some background on the two main clients of my business: Adventure Ashram and Secret Pillow Project.

Adventure Ashram is a charity founded and supported by travelers who adventure with purpose. They raise funds off the back of their adventures in India and money is awarded to small Indian grassroots charities that are en route of the travels.

Secret Pillow Project is a social business that empowers women in India through the making and selling of Secret Pillows. A Secret Pillow is a pillow that unfolds into a blanket.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Intern_SecretPillowProject_Hanna_Muche_loading_Secret_Pillows_into_cardboard_boxes_to_go_off_to_Amazon.jpg
Photo: CAPA London intern Hanna Muche loading Secret Pillows into the cardboard boxes to go off to Amazon.

Both organizations need to operate at their maximum capacity, while keeping their running costs to a minimum. Our team was at times over-stretched and jobs like implementing planning systems and processes and checking to ensure they were working perfectly were always getting pushed.

And then along came our incredible CAPA interns, Cassidy, Pinkney, Alec, Kat, Katy and Hanna and everything changed. Meet Katy and Hanna here. They are the ones next to me in the Secret Pillow t-shirts.

It is not just the time and expertise they bring that makes the difference for our awesome charity and social business, it’s the love and commitment they give. All our CAPA interns seem to realize that while we operate in London, our real output is felt most strongly in the villages and slums in South India were the beneficiaries of Adventure Ashram and Secret Pillow producers live.

So grateful for the increased capacity in our team we recently visited the CAPA internship team in their London office to say a huge thank you for working tirelessly to match the interns to organizations like ours. They have seriously good matching skills! Myself and my team wanted to make sure they knew they were directly contributing to the impact being felt in South India.

Secret Pillow Project is piloting a social franchise that will act as another sales base in addition to the UK sales base. I am excited that the pilot is based in the US and is being run by a friend of mine, Taja Mckinney Zisler. Her aim is to import her first crate of Secret Pillows from India to the States by November 2016. To start off her sales, she is running a crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000 by 30 April 2016. To support the campaign, I flew to the US. While I was in New York, I thought I would hop on the bus to Boston to go to the CAPA headquarters to meet the team there. I wanted to say thank you to them as well for the contribution they too are making to the impact Adventure Ashram and Secret Pillow Project are having in South India.

Here's a photo of us together after spending a couple of hours presenting and chatting.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fritha_Vincent_with_CAPA_Boston_Staff.jpg

It was great to meet the team and it was the cherry on the cake to have 10 minutes with CAPA's President and CEO John Christian who was able to pop in and say hi! I was delighted to hear that I am the first Internship Site Supervisor from London to visit CAPA's Boston headquarters.

So now I will return to London to say goodbye to our fantastic interns Katy and Hanna and interview our next group too. It makes me feel really happy to know the teams that make these internship positions possible have been personally thanked by myself and my team.

To find out the full story of Secret Pillow Project and pre-order one of your own, please visit Taja’s crowdfunding campaign.

Here are a few more links to check out: 

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Topics: London, England, Internships Abroad