Caroline Hess ’23

Reclaim Childhood, Jordan

This summer, I worked as a funding and strategy intern for Reclaim Childhood (RC). RC creates safe and inclusive spaces for refugees and local girls in Jordan to thrive by playing sports, working with coaches and building community. I first became involved with RC five years ago, when I volunteered at Amman practices while studying abroad at a Jordanian high school. The coaches there fostered a culture of mutual support and impassioned energy, and the connections I made with girls at practice shaped my academic interest in migration and refugee policy. While I hope to return to the Middle East in my early career, I felt that it was important to experience the U.S. side of a multinational organization.

I immensely enjoyed working within RC’s women-led, impact-driven organization. I met with the Amman team—and the two Jordan-based interns—online via Google Meet. Working with a small team meant that I had ample opportunities for feedback on my work and, most importantly, to get to know my U.S.-based coworkers.

I am an Arabic major, and it’s always a challenge to find opportunities to practice my language in real-world situations. At RC, I was able to do a portion of my work in Arabic and use the language in a professional setting for the first time. I spoke Arabic on calls with the multilingual Amman team and did translation work while auditing and organizing testimony from participants. For one ongoing project, I translated and added subtitles to raw footage from practice. I also edited photos and videos into longer videos to be posted on social media. I loved working with testimony because it allowed me to understand program impact through reading girls’ personal accounts and watching videos of them warming up or singing on the bus.

RC was committed to making sure that all of the interns had an appropriate understanding of the political and cultural context in which it operates. One of my first projects was updating RC’s orientation information to reflect the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on its impact on women and refugees. We also took part in workshops on bias and Western saviorism in the nonprofit/NGO sector and had a conversation with the author of a report on urban refugees in Amman. This holistic understanding of program context and impact was immensely helpful when I jumped into the grant-writing process.

One of my goals for this summer was to gain an understanding of nonprofit fundraising and the grant process. To do so, I observed fundraising and budgeting meetings, and I participated in the writing of two grants. In some cases, grant-writing meant qualitatively describing how RC programs worked toward a certain goal; in other cases, it meant pulling monitoring and evaluation data to quantitatively demonstrate impact.

I am very grateful to have had a summer internship experience at an organization that is aligned with my values and has an amazing impact. I would like to thank the Kraft Family and the ’68 CCE for this opportunity.