Internship Experience @ Greenpeace, Bangalore: Stipend of Rs. 150/Day, Enhanced communication and research skill was my best takeaway

Name. Year. University.

Shubham Raj. 2nd year (interned in 1st year). Damodaram Sanjivayya National law University, Visakhapatnam.

Name of the Organisation. Address. Commute and Office Details

Greenpeace India Society, #60 Wellington street, Richmond town, Bangalore- 560025.

Richmond town is counted one among all the posh areas in Bangalore, and it has buses probably from all the corners of Bangalore, which makes it easy for one to reach there.

Although the inner (Richmond) town, which is the residential area and which is where the office is situated, doesn’t have access to the bus service but one can take any of the 335E, 335T or 335ER, buses from Majestic (the main bus stand) that would drop one at Richmond circle in 15-40 minutes (depends on the traffic), the office is 7-8 minutes of walk on foot from there.

The organization ran in a spacious two storied building (house) turned into office with almost 35-40 employees working in it (I was with the Radio Sangharsh team that had 5-6 members), there weren’t individual cubicles for each employee but everyone of them had a pair of chair and table (which, I found, was better than the cubicle system as you need not stand in case you get a sudden urge to wave ‘hi’ to any of the co-workers. Wink).

The tables had a desktop and all other essentials required to work placed on it, decorated with a coffee mug and a water sipper with the name of the particular employee engraved on it. Even I got a table and a chair to sit and work on along with the other essentials, except for the mug and the sipper. Hurt, I felt! (Kidding).

The office extended to an open (bigger-than-normal) corridor that had a couple of sofas and a coffee vending machine installed in it, it leaded towards the backyard turned into dinning space.

Application  Process. Duration. Timings

I applied by sending an email to: [email protected] with “Internship Application: 5th May, 2014- 15th June, 2014: Bangalore Office” as subject, with the body explaining who I was and why I wanted to work with the organization and attached my resume to the same.

I got a call after six days confirming the acceptance of my mail and assuring that they’d call me for an interview.

I got an email the following day that had a task to be completed by me and sent back to them, I did the same, the co-ordinator/team leader called me and took telephonic interview after two days of the submission of the task and an email confirming my internship was followed by it promising things I’d get and I wouldn’t from the internship and also the terms and conditions of working with the organization, in a TOR, was attached to it.

I interned with the organization for six weeks; from 5th May to 15th June (while the minimum period to work with them, as they said, was one month, they preferred the interns ready commit to work for two months at a stretch over the interns ready to work for one).

The office started working at 0930 hours and closed at 1800 hours, I was supposed to report at 1030 hours, work for six hours a day and five days a week, (unlike other NGOs and firms where one’s supposed to work for 8 strict hours) but there were days when I had to stay back longer in order to complete the work.

Accommodation

Staying in Bangalore is not that big an issue, it has a lot of PGs erected all over (Bangalore is called the garden city of India and I’m afraid, with the speed of which the number of PGs are increasing there it might, very soon, turn into the “PG accommodation city of India.”)

I stayed near St. Johns hospital at Kormangala and paid seven thousands for the accommodation and food (that was un-edible), cheaper accommodations were also available ranging between four to eight thousand rupees per month, depending on the facilities they provided, in different PGs around.

The commute was also not that hard, I used to board either of the 360B, 356C, 340 or 342F buses that used to drop me at the Richmond circle within 15-20 minutes, sometimes late sometimes early, depending on the traffic.

First impression, first day formalities

I was to intern at India’s one the largest NGOs and hence dressed myself in the best formal attire I had, as I had a conception of employees dressed formally in well-ironed shirts and pants, but it was all rugged the moment my coordinator greeted me in a half-pant and a T-shirt!

I was taken by him from the reception to my table where he introduced me to the other team members (one of them was the person I was supposed to report to, as my main coordinator often had field works to fix) they called the process- induction. There were no other formalities as such.

Main Tasks

I was working with a very recently established mobile (cellular) media named Radiosangharsh, which was a platform for the rural people who couldn’t access the concerned authorities to report their problems, through mobile phones (the organization recorded the phone calls), related mainly to environment and other judicial and administrative issues.

My task in this was to:

1. Listen to the recorded phone calls.

2. Shortlist the call in which the reporter actually had reported an issue that needed to be resolved. Streamline the call category (environment, corruption, family feud etc.) and write blurbs on those shortlisted calls for publishing those on their website (HERE) and facebook page.

3. To search for the stakeholders, related authorities, civil society organizations, government bodies etc. and contact them (call, email, file RTI, etc.) in order to solve the issue reported, at times to call the caller and make him/her aware of his/her rights, etc. at this stage my move was totally dependent on the type of call and the issue that had been reported.

4. Document all these (above mentioned) on a spreadsheet.

People. Work Environment

The employees there, starting from the watchman, the receptionist, the team leaders were all too amicable (specially, Mr. Anirban, my coordinator), except few who, probably, thought the interns were their bounded labours.

With an average age of around 25-26 years, many of them disliked being addressed as sir/ma’am (Mr. Nayan actually abhorred it) and wanted to be called by their names (that made me feel as if I were working with and among my friends!).

They had no particular dress code, be it formal or be it casual they were fine with everything (which of course did not mean you could go in a pair of vest and lowers!).

These all, overall, made the environment so relax and my working part easy and easier. And even by being so friendly and responsibly slack they followed and abided to all the conditions and rules of an idle workplace.

Good & Bad things

The best thing about the organisation was the precious experience that it gave me, the very frank behaviour of the employees and the way they made me feel to be equal to them.

The enhanced communication and research skill was my best takeaway.

They had a coffee vending machine which could be used in case the day’s work had been boring, plus, every evening near 1600 hours a “samosa waala” used to come on a bicycle loaded with tasty samosas and other snacks (I can still savour the taste and no, I’m not that big a gourmand) which was another best thing.

There was nothing bad about the organization in particular (except for the reality that they did not have enough extra coffee mugs near the vending machine) but the rush hours of the city.

The buses used to be full to their utmost between 0830 & 1030 hours in the morning and 1700 & 1900 hours in the evening and the meters of auto rickshaws ran seriously very fast, that, if boarded daily, would prove fatal to the wallet.

The worst was a personal thing- my blackberry got picked from my pocket while boarding the bus.

Stipend

Rs. 150 per day.

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