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6-month internship in LP4Y Partnership & Fundraising team

My name is Clara. My LP4Y experience only lasted 6 months, but remains one of the best experiences of my life.

 

As part of my studies, I had to complete a 6-month internship abroad. My goal was to find an organization aligned with my values, where I could invest my energy in serving a cause that was important to me. Thanks to a teacher, I discovered LP4Y. After a bit of research, I quickly realized that this organization could be a perfect fit for me, so I applied as an intern and tried my luck for this position that did not exist yet in LP4Y.

 

After a few weeks of hesitation about this internship offer, I officially became Alexia Fournel's intern in the Partnership & Fundraising team. Why did I hesitate? Because they offered me to go to Lebanon. I was both enthusiastic and frightened by this country, given the preconceived ideas I had, and I knew that going there was an opportunity, but also a challenge. After Alexia's reviews of the Green Village in Surat, I could not turn down the opportunity, and I was not going to regret it.


Even after a week of inception training in France to be prepared for the trip, you do not really know what to expect. You meet other people who are going to have the same experience as you in different countries, so you can share your fears and expectations... As an intern, one of my fears was to feel out of place, to be useless for LP4Y as I did not have much professional experience.

 

The Green Village's entrance in Surat, Lebanon

From the moment I arrived, I liked everything. The landscapes, between sea and mountains, the Youth in the Green Village and the Training Development Center in Beirut, my mission, and of course, the other catalysts. And the food! I settled in at the Green Village with a great team, who gave me a warm welcome and showed me around. I quickly acclimatized myself to this environment: this place of living, working and sharing became my second home.




 

As my position at LP4Y was new, I was not replacing anyone, I had different missions and provided support to all team members. My main mission concerned partnerships, in particular a major information transfer project, for which I received training and support as soon as I arrived. I also spent two mornings a week with the Youth: one with a micro-company, and one in guidance. In addition, I gave mock-interviews to the Youth, and helped the coaches when they needed it. Then, I drove the van from time to time, a mission that particularly mattered to me as a pilot (and which made the soldiers at the checkpoint laugh a lot). Finally, I also helped the KII (Key Impact Indicator) team, which measures LP4Y's impact using concrete data.

 

Thanks to my "Swiss Army knife" position and the interactions I had with the Youth and catalysts, I found a real balance and learned a lot about LP4Y. I found my place and felt useful, everything I had hoped for. Another positive surprise was the absence of hierarchy. We were all on the same level, working together towards the same goal. As soon as I started my mission, I was immediately asked for my opinion and included in the collective decisions, as if I had been there for years. The question of legitimacy was no longer relevant. I think it is a major strength for a team, a center, and overall at LP4Y.

 

What I also enjoyed was getting to know the Catalysts from other centers via online meetings or WhatsApp exchanges, because you really get a sense of the community that LP4Y represents. Each country and each center is unique, but they all inspire and give each other a boost or energy by organizing even more ambitious events, creating inspiring activities, meeting local communities, attending enriching training, etc.

 

For example, I was lucky enough to discover a community in Tripoli during the Welcome Weeks. We were given challenges to complete over the course of a day, which enabled us to learn more about the city, the country, but above all the locals themselves. The people I met, especially the women, really touched me. Most of them have had inspiring life paths, as their independence is not always accepted, and their role is often dictated by the male gender. Throughout my mission and during these exchanges, I realized the importance of our commitment, and how lucky I was to have had an unobstructed education, and to have made my own decisions.


Ice breaker at the Green Village in Surat, Lebanon

I would also like to emphasize what the Youth gave me, and how win-win the relationship was. Before I met them, I had not expected such motivation, resilience and generosity from them. They leave their families to give themselves a chance to build a future and gain self-confidence. They put everything in place to achieve their goals, relentlessly. I remember the first Life Project Plan presentation at the Training and Development Center in Beirut a few days after my arrival, where I could see in their eyes the desire to achieve what they had displayed on their slides, and hear the excitement

in their voices when they proudly

announced their long-term projects.


What was really interesting was that the catalysts also presented their Life Project Plans. Even though we are here to accompany them, the Youth are an exceptional source of inspiration for us. We learn a lot more about ourselves than we could ever have imagined. At every guidance session I gave, the Youth often returned my questions (after answering or reflecting about it first), which enabled me to take a step back on many subjects, and on myself. But what I really loved was the constructive discussions we were able to have, the initiatives they were taking for their micro-company, the atmosphere after 5pm...

 

Even though I was not with the Youth all the time, I witnessed how much they progressed in English over 3 months. It was really impressive! The batch system enabled them to help each other depending on when they arrived at the GV, but also to challenge each other to communicate better with us and their future employers. I have really seen an evolution over the months, in their technical skills, in their teams, in terms of behavior and self-confidence. For example, some Youth took a long time before speaking up at the Brief in the morning or during the smaller group sessions. So, when they dare to do so, we can see their pride.

 

I was also struck by the kindness of the Youth and their families, a hallmark of Lebanese culture. On the first day, I was wonderfully welcomed. But I did not expect such a welcome for every dinner we spent together. I felt that every moment spent with them was a chance, and I hope that I will be able to apply this culture of sharing around me in the future.


Clara with her co-Catalyst in Lebanon

I would also add the fact that I really enjoyed living in collectivity. You live and work with the same people, and I have been lucky enough to have an exceptional team. Being with French, Lebanese and Moroccan people taught me a lot about the culture of these countries, especially Lebanon. The exchanges, during sharing time for instance, were enriching and opened my mind to many subjects and new perceptions.

 

Despite a hasty repatriation and an unfinished mission in Lebanon due to the regional instability, this human adventure has changed me somewhat, and I will keep memories that I will

continue to share around me, for

the Youth and all the people I met

on my way at LP4Y.

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