August 28th, 2013


After 10 weeks with the amazing team at HART UK and all their wonderful partners, I can honestly say I have had one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. It has also been a real wake-up call to the suffering happening all around the world today.

I had been looking for a while to find a summer internship with a NGO and I felt proud that HART had given me this opportunity. I had developed an interest in international development and aid through a placement at another small NGO. However my time at HART has proven to be a catalyst and has encouraged me to understand further the difficult humanitarian issues facing our world today. All the people I have met and the stories I have heard, have made me realise the harsh reality of suffering in the world. Baroness Cox’s words “I cannot do everything, but I must not do nothing” will continue to ring in my ears.

HART’s work is founded on the 4 As: Authenticity, Aid, Advocacy and Accountability. It is these priorities and principles which drew me to HART’s work. They are values I personally believe charities should adhere to, as they are the most effective in giving local people the dignity of choice and providing a sustainable future. As Baroness Cox rightly emphasises; HART is about giving a hand, not a hand out.

Although a little nervous at first of the possibility of becoming a tea runner, I quickly felt I was given a valuable role to play within the HART team. As a tiny office they truly appreciate all the help they receive in carrying out their work. With some helpful guidance from Lydia and Megan, I felt I had the right foundations to make a real contribution.

My favourite activity was researching and writing blog pieces. I learnt how to articulate my own opinion on important issues in a coherent and interesting way. At first my writing was accused of being rather melodramatic! I feel I have greatly improved my writing style and hope that I can continue to use and develop this skill in whatever I choose to do.

There have been many highlights; these are few of my top ones. I felt honoured to attend the House of Lords to hear Baroness Cox speak in the debating chambers. This enabled me to see first-hand just how powerful and articulate a speaker she is and why she is in so much demand! Also, meeting the amazing Dr Sasa, founder of Health and Hope Society in Burma, gave me a more personal insight into the work HART’s partners conduct overseas. Finally, writing an article on the Burmese military’s use of rape as a weapon of war, boosted my passion for women’s empowerment and I hope will continue to spread the word of such horrific war crimes. This work has also fuelled a new interest in Burma; an amazing and dynamic country, rich in culture, which faces some of the most difficult political and social issues in the world.

I greatly enjoyed working alongside other interns: Megan, Gesa, Freya and Emma. The atmosphere at HART was always so fresh and full of interesting ideas and discussions. We came from a variety of academic backgrounds; history, law, politics, international development and English literature. This mixture was perfect for bouncing ideas off one another and brought to the table a huge range of knowledge, skills and energy.

From day one, the HART office team were warm and welcoming, from when the door first opened and I was given a hug and a mince pie, right up to today, my very last day. I will be really sad to go. However I will cherish this experience as more than an internship and the amazing work they do will always have my full support. To sum up my past 10 weeks at HART in four simple words: a real learning experience.

Isabelle Darque

Isabelle Darque

By Isabelle Darque

Isabelle is currently interning during her summer break, having finished her second year of studying History at Cardiff University. Her particular interests are women's empowerment and the provision of healthcare.

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