First Year of Interns Forging Ahead With Important Work

iTeams CanadaImpact Kenya PACE, Impact Programs, Updates

The Forge Internship is a new initiative of International Teams Canada, specifically designed for graduates with knowledge and passion in international development. The 8-month program, which launched in September 2014, gives emerging leaders the opportunity to integrate their faith with their vocation while making a major contribution to International Teams Canada’s transformational development programs.

Greg Reader, iTeams Canada’s Learning and Development Specialist, says that the first year has gone extremely well. “The interns have expressed that they feel very invested in. At the same time, they have been a huge help to us. The information and insights they gathered while on location in Kenya and Zambia have provided us with a much richer understanding of the work being done there and the difference being made.They conducted extensive, well-planned interviews with program leadership, local government and NGO leaders, local churches, and people who are benefitting from the work there. Now we’re able to tell some great stories about the transformative development we’re seeing in these communities.”

Darryn Oldford, one of the interns on the team that visited Impact Kenya-PACE, says that one of the most meaningful moments for him was watching PACE’s first ever high school graduation ceremony. “For many in Kenya, graduating from high school is a dream that will never be realized. PACE wishes to raise a generation of leaders that might otherwise not reach their full potential. The pride the PACE graduates took in their accomplishment and the joy they felt as they danced their way in and out of the ceremony was infectious. Leading up to the ceremony we got to know all the students briefly while taking their grad photo, which, despite being a lot of work, provided a lot of laughs as we tried putting mortarboards on some of the kids. You could tell they were nervous; they were in the midst of their examinations and their future is largely uncertain. But in all of these things you could hear them dreaming big and brimming with hope. It was hard not to wish everything they wanted for them and more.”

Stephanie Schreuders, another member of the PACE team, shared about her experience volunteering at the third annual African Christian Leadership Summit at PACE, where 35 attendees from thirteen different countries joined for four busy but enriching days. “Stories were shared, tears were shed, and prayers were lifted up on behalf of one another. Pastoral leadership and education is very important in East Africa. The Leadership Summit at PACE created a safe space where pastors were able to share their joys, their challenges, and encourage one another along in their ministries while listening to speakers who encouraged partnership. There were some in attendance who were recent Christian converts who shared their stories, as well as some Christian Somalis who can’t find community in their home country, or in their new country where they are ostracized out of fear. It was amazing to see this group of pastors come together to lift up their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering because of their decision to follow Jesus.”

The current group of interns finishes in April, and applications are now being accepted for next year’s program. If you or someone you know has studied international development and would be a good candidate for something like this, visit forge.iteams.ca to apply. Applications will be accepted until mid-April.

The Forge is a tremendous investment in emerging leaders and in community transformation worldwide. If you would like to be a valuable part of developing the next generation of leaders, you can give now to an iTeams Project or Program.