Ganesh Chaturthi – All you need to know!

5 September 2016

India is one country that takes joy in celebrating all Hindu festivals on a grand scale. Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’ is one among them. In fact, it is the largest traditional festival celebrated by the Hindu community, not only in India, but all over the world. Typically, the day falls between 20th August and 15th September each year and marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha.

GsbWho is Ganesha?

History has it that when Parvati, Lord Shiva’s wife needed a guard to protect her while she bathed, she created Lord Ganesha out of sandalwood paste and breathed life into him. Later that day, when Shiva returned home to his wife, he and Ganesha got into a tussle which resulted in Ganesha’s head being cut off by Shiva. Furious at this outcome, Parvati ordered Shiva to bring Ganesha back to life. Following his wife’s order, Shiva set out in to the forest to look for Ganesha’s head, but failed to find it. Instead, he chanced upon an elephant’s head and ultimately fixed it on Ganesha’s body and Lord Ganesha came back into existence.

How is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?

Idols of Lord Ganesha, made from clay and mud, take over the streets of India, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. Sculptors spends weeks and sometimes months to create life-sized idols, as well as, medium and small sized ‘murtis’ of Ganesha. These are then sold on street corners and markets to devotees in preparation of the big festival.

On the day of the festival, tents are set up outside temples and in residential colonies, giving every one a chance to worship and pay homage to Lord Ganesha. Idols of Ganesha are occasionally accompanied by those of Parvati’s. After the indoor celebrations, the idols are brought out on to the streets in large open vehicles. These vehicles are surrounded by masses of men and women praying and dancing to devotional songs. “Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most fun festivals for me. I get to see my otherwise solemn neighbors go all out and break into extremely entertaining dances on the day,” says Vidushi, who is our Communications and Programme Assistant from New Delhi.

When the procession from the streets reaches the river bank (or any other large water body), a small prayer is conducted by the ‘pandit’ and Ganesha is then immersed into the water. During the immersion, people are heard shouting “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purcha Varshi Laukariya” which means “Come early next year, Lord Ganesha”.

Ganesh-chaturthi-l

Why is worshipping Lord Ganesha important for Indians?

Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular Gods in India because of his unique half man-half elephant appearance. While growing up, every child is intrigued by his story and how he came into being. If one belongs to a Hindu family, worshipping Lord Ganesha is a matter of routine and is done with utmost devotion. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi was initiated by an Indian freedom fighter, Lokmanya Tilak, as a community event in order to gather public support and unite all Hindus.

However, during the last few years, idol immersions have reduced due to environmental reasons and many families now use water buckets at home to immerse Lord Ganesha.

Haven’t we always felt and said that India is amazing?! While we always entreat our interns who go to New Delhi on our programme to experience the rich culture and festivities of India, we also urge you to add witnessing such unique festivals to the top of your bucket list. Apply here for an internship in Delhi today.

Celebrating International Charity Day

2 September 2016

International-day_of_charity

Next week Monday will be International Charity Day. For our interns who work amazingly and tirelessly for education, advocacy, and development NGOs in Cape Town and New Delhi, every day is a charity day, but on September 5th, they’ll be a part of something special.

Mother TeresaIn 2012, the United Nations held the first annual International Day of Charity as an official day of recognition and celebration to honour the important work that these charities and many others do. September 5th was chosen because it is the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

This commemorates the tireless work that Mother Teresa did by devoting her whole life to charity work. In her honour, education and giving are the essence of this special day.

And indeed, some would say that now, more than ever is when we need to approach our daily lives with an essence of giving to our shared global community:

“At a time when the need for humanitarian assistance has never been higher and when there are more refugees and displaced people than at any time since the end of the Second World War, charities play an increasingly vital role in meeting human need.[…] I call on people everywhere to volunteer and act charitably in the face of human suffering.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the International Day of Charity, 5 September 2015

Join us!

So if the legendary hearts of people like Mother Teresa inspires you to do some good today, share it with us! Post a pic on our Facebook wall or tweet it to us so we can celebrate you too today!

And if you’d like to give for more than a day, sign up here to come and do an internship for a good cause in Cape Town or New Delhi.

change the world

An outing to Mzoli’s for a lekker shisa nyama!

22 August 2016

Wait, what does that heading even mean? You can brush up on your Cape Town lingo here, but it means some of the interns in Cape Town at the moment joined if i could… team members for a great afternoon at Mzoli’s Place on Friday.

Mzoli’s is in Gugulethu, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Since it opened in early 2003, the restaurant has become a popular gathering spot for Cape Town residents and a tourist attraction. It’s a favourite of ours for its authentic vibe, especially on a Friday afternoon, and it’s great food! 

Here are a few pics from the intern outing:

Getting started

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Why don’t you join us?

Want to be in Cape Town for the next outing? Make sure to apply here for an internship that makes a difference today!

A Home Far Away From Home…

11 August 2016

There is a popular saying in India, ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘guest is god’ and it is not just a saying, but a way of being. Indians take great pride and honor in hosting guests, whether it’s their family, friends or even mere acquaintances. Apart from being a part of the culture, pleasing people and making them feel at home comes naturally to most Indians.

Around 8 million foreign tourists visit India each year and live in hotels, but sadly only a few of them experience the real Indian hospitality. For this very reason, homestays as a concept is growing in India. Homestay is a concept similar to that of a bed and breakfast with the only difference being that you are living with an Indian family. In most cases, homestays prove to be far more comfortable than staying at hotels.

At if i could… we try our best to make our interns feel safe and comfortable in a new country. We do so by helping connect them with our network of trusted accommodation hosts and make sure that they are placed in good hands, be it in Cape Town or New Delhi.

Most recently, we had one of our interns from the US sign up with us for an internship  in New Delhi and we set her up with one of our home stay families…

IMG_7945“My experience at Neeru’s house was beyond my expectation. When I was told I would be living with a family, I was nervous because I did not know what to expect. It only took me a day to know that this special family with whom I was staying, would forever be dear to my heart. Not only was I included in all their family activities, but I was also given the choice of doing whatever I wanted with my time and space. They are an incredibly warm and welcoming family and talking to them was always easy during my stay. I can honestly sum up my experience as memorable and special because of Neeru’s hospitality. No one would ever go hungry in her house!” says Winnie.

 

And here’s what the host, Neeru had to say..

IMG_7900“My experience hosting Winnie has been extremely joyful. She is a very sweet girl and adjusted to our home really quickly. In no time, Winnie became part of our family and we started hanging out often. I also taught her Hindi lessons which also gave us more time to interact with each other. She adapted to the Indian culture and food so well that she now cannot eat non spicy food. Well, that is one job done right! I thank if i could… for trusting me with Winnie and look forward to meeting and hosting many such wonderful, young people who capture your heart”.

While we continue to keep providing our interns with invaluable experiences, we urge all our interns to take a leap of faith and give homestay a try.  Considering the much talked about “welcoming Indian culture”, why not sign up for a New Delhi internship… it will definitely be memorable!

Follow us on Facebook &Instagram for latest updates and feel free to contact our programme coordinators for more info on iwould@ificould.co.za. We look forward to you joining us in Cape Town and New Delhi soon.

Top reasons why you should intern abroad

11 August 2016

Adventure sign with road background“An international internship is a great way of gaining experience in your chosen field and putting your skills into practice, whilst getting a taste of full time employment. Doing an internship abroad is also a way of proving your ability to work under pressure and to perform under more challenging circumstances. Your experience abroad will also give you a new, unique perspective by introducing you to different cultures and allowing you to learn from this,” says if i could… Programme Coordinator, Jess.

By heading out on an internship abroad, you will show your future employers that you are the kind of person who makes opportunities for yourself rather than waiting for something to happen. Employers rate confidence, initiative & interpersonal skills as three of the most important attributes for employment.

IIMG_2003t’s good for you as a person – There are countless professional benefits from doing an internship abroad. But let’s not discount the personal benefits too. Your international internship will boost your confidence, broaden your horizons, and give you a sense of accomplishment that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Traveling abroad not only educates you about the people and places you visit, but you often learn mostly about yourself.

 

In South Africa and New Delhi, you will gain a much broader view of current events as well as topics within your own field of study in the development sector particularly. This will help you in life to manage future challenges differently and solve problems from a better perspective.

It’s Fun! – Yes, you are there to work but you won’t be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Most internships allow you the flexibility to include travel and exploration of your new city be it travel, eat, dance, sing, sightsee, hike, climb, trek, swim, tour, or anything else that sounds fun to you. And better yet,  with if i could… you get to explore with other internationals on the same programme

DSC01344_smAll shapes & sizes – Employers want to know that you are able to work with and for all different types of people. An international internship shows that you can adapt to different cultures and styles. It shows future bosses that you are not afraid to step out of your comfort zone and that you have successfully worked  alongside people who in more ways than one are significantly different from you.

Hands on Experience –  As a student you may think that you know a lot about the job,  but as an intern you have actually DONE the job. You have proof that you can take what you’ve learned and apply it in the real working world.

Foreign Language Skills –  With our programmes you could either pick up Hindi in India or delve into one of the 11 official languages in South Africa. We offer Xhosa lessons in Cape Town and Hindi lessons in New Delhi. Learning a foreign language makes you a more suitable job candidate, in every industry, in this globalized world. We offer classes in both locations. The best way to truly learn the language, is to live it.

IMG-20160215-WA0004 (1)In-country support – We offer an extensive orientation to make sure you are well settled in your new city and accommodation assistance to help you find your home-away-from-home. We also arrange weekly outings so you can connect with other interns on the programme and plan trips together.

But by far still the number one reason should be: It’s An Experience of a lifetime that no amount of money could ever buy!

 

Our applications are accepted on a rolling basis; please visit www.ificould.co.za to find out more about our programme, and click here to apply. We would love to hear from you, so contact our team to start planning to intern abroad with if i could…

Contact us for more information