I am doing my Bachelor at SOAS - as you should know, I am reminding it in case someone is landing on my blog out of nowhere - and I study Anthropology & African Studies. Such a beautiful name for a degree, isn't it? You can obviously notice my main interest for Africa - by the way, just to make you understand: I love Africa but it does not mean that my interests stop there, just because people have too many preconceptions about me.
I cannot hide it but my eventual ephemeral dream was to work with RAS because it is so connected to SOAS that you just want to grab this opportunity sitting next to you.
As a student, before making "the dream" come true you have to manage to make a living on a green bike, running up and down London, teaching your mother tongue here and there, volunteering in a anarchy-based vegan cafe (absence of leader, against capitalism etc.) to get some food and meet the people from the community.
Before I go to far away from the original topic of the article:
I went there with Marjorie, and she suggested, why not, for me to volunteer in a kind of organisation, maybe cultural, let's see who is behind this market ... OPEN THE GATE.
And that's how I got in touch - to make it shorter -
Beginning of 2014 I heard that I could eventually get a Santander grant if I wanted to do an internship. I wanted to start having an "easy" and "stable" student life (as if you could ever combine these words) but at the same time doing something interesting and enriching for my future experience. I got my first official position as Public Relation Intern at OTG in March 2014.
I loved the experience, it gave me more time to be into it, to be more committed and involved because I could spend less time on the other "here and there jobs" that I was doing.
At the end of my internship though, I found some administration issue with the university related to my exams, so I had to take a year out. Hard time, loosing my studies for 1 year, my first aim being to complete my studies and do what I want. I was a bit desperate because I was looking forward to my 3rd year and I could have received a bursary from France for my final year so no more money stress, still working a little bit but not much and having some time to stay with OTG as a volunteer - that was my plan and it failed because of this admin failure.
I started looking for other internships, believing that I could eventually get a full time internship for 6 months, I had the opportunity to go abroad to Ghana or Nigeria but I did not want to loose the newly made contact with people that I was starting having with the people, it was too early to leave for a long period. We finally talked and I got employed by OTG as PR Manager. This is one of the best thing that happened to me this year.
Now, before I move on to my next point (because I could write endlessly about that) I want to invite you to try to do the same because YOU CAN. Come, volunteer, see, be empowered, get an fabulous internship and who knows what is going to happen later? The organisation is growing a lot.
OTG is a great organisation promoting African arts, live music, fashion, design through live music events, The African Market, a combination of both and festivals. And it's beautiful to all that happening. Also Africa is rising right now in the West and we are right in the middle of it to observe the implosion.
Another thing is that there is a strong and passionate team behind the stage with a very good organisation and different complementary personalities, that is making the organisation stand out among the others!
Everything is well structured and well calculated. Before I knew the organisation it happened to be a cultural centre up the road on Stoke Newington Rd, lots of people talking about it, I am trying to imagine how it could have been.
It is a beautiful project that has been for almost 6 years long with a great amount of enthusiasm from everyone to make it work through the time with numerous effort & motivation.
My 3 favorite events of the year 2014
(no order of preference between these 3 - which were already difficult to choose!)
Africa on The Square http://bit.ly/1BzVug7
Open The Gate @Rich Mix http://bit.ly/1BzVuN7
Bank Holiday Festival http://bit.ly/1DdmSlD
A FEW LINKS:
The Website: http://openthegate.org.uk/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/openthegate
- Also on Google + & Linkedin