Jessica Schroeder - Internship placement at CTRD

Hi Everyone,

I am Jessica from Germany. I have been working with CTRD for six weeks and I can not imagine leaving this wonderful organization in two weeks time. Before I started my internship in CTRD I was studying in the IISE (International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs) in Kerala, near Trivandrum.

The IISE institute empowers visually impaired people from all over the world to start their own social or environmental projects. You learn how to write project proposals, conduct effective fund raising campaigns, deal with media etc, in summary, everything that you need to be well prepared and equipped to join the community of NGOs and to make a positive change in the world.

One very important part of this one year training course is the two month internship with an NGO. The description of CTRD and its different projects were so exciting and engaging for me that I decided to undertake my internship in this organization. Fortunately the executive director of CTRD was willing and sufficiently open-minded to welcome me on an internship. This forward thinking approach is not so common in India, where the attitude towards disabled persons is still rather negative. Many organizations can not see any benefit in employing or training a disabled person. They believe that this would mean an additional burden for them. That a disabled person can bring new and progressive ideas into an organization and can develop a new sense of humanity, is for many NGOs, companies and industries difficult to imagine. To counter these negative perceptions, and to take advantage of the many benefits of employing a person with disabilities, Mr. Ranganathen was really happy to receive us.

Since he is working with the disadvantaged tribal and rural populations of the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, he encounters first hand the ways in which disabled people suffer. He experienced that many disabled people have no job, no school education and receive insufficient care from their families. Often they are kept in houses like animals and families are afraid to present themselves with their disabled children in public. They are scared of the embarrassing questions, the staring eyes, the cold ignorance and the harsh insults of some members of the community. CTRD wants to improve the living and working conditions of disabled people in the Nilgiris. They want to bring disabled people into mainstream society so that they can really participate, benefit from resources and will be accepted as equal and valuable members of the community. Please see the below link for further details:

Johnson my internship partner and I are helping CTRD to develop ambitious and sustainable projects which improve the living conditions of disabled people and which create awareness and tolerance for their needs and rights.

CTRD is like a big family for me. Right from the beginning I felt really welcomed and received with open arms and minds. All the staff are very open towards new ideas and they always try their best to involve you in their work. I was really impressed how engaged all of them are to include you in their conversations.