Over the summer of 2021, I spent a couple of months volunteering for the Rosie May Foundation. In true pandemic fashion, my internship was fully online, which meant that although I wasn’t able to work on some of the projects I was hoping to, I was easily able to help increase engagement and their reach on their social media pages.
My experience with the Rosie May Foundation began when I got in touch with Mary, the co-founder of the foundation, about the advertised internship opportunities. During our interview (which was also online, no thanks to the pandemic), we hit it off immediately. I was awestruck by how much this lady was single-handedly doing to help further a cause very, very close to my heart, and I knew then and there that I most certainly wanted to work for them. I came out of that call with a massive grin on my face – I said to my mum, ” I think I’ve found the perfect summer job for me”.
And it truly was perfect! Working with Mary was honestly such a pleasure. I never felt like I was working for her, and rather like I was working with her towards a common goal. A visionary leader with big ideas for the world, she sets a very inspiring figure for the world. She effortlessly guided me for the duration of my internship, pointing me in the right direction and introducing me to the right people. Also deserving of a big shoutout is Emma, the fundraising manager at RMF – she very effortlessly manages all the fundraising aspects of the foundation, from Project Hope, to tuktuk hires, and all of it with a smile on her face and the kindest words of encouragement for the rest of us at RMF.
My tasks for RMF social media were broadly split into two categories – handling the Rosie May Shop pages, and handling the RMF Tuktuk Hire pages. The tuktuk hire pages are dedicated to raising awareness about Project Hope, and increasing our reach of clients looking to hire our tuktuk, the profits of which are fully used to further the development of Project Hope.
To increase engagement within the Rosie May Shop pages, I created several graphics to help promote the garments on sale at the shop, highlighting the different wide range of products available. While I was doing this, I realized just how oblivious I was to the other end of the product life cycle – as an avid consumer, I was only focused on the consumer-end of the product, but my time at RMF helped me realize that there is a largely more important part to the manufacture of garments – the person who makes the garments! Here at RMF, all the clothes, accessories and jewellery on sale constitute what is known as ‘conscious fashion’ – created via ethical labour involving fair wages and proper training for the women that make these products, it sets a role model for the rest of the fashion industry to follow.
The ladies that make the garments and accessories are able to gain a regular income by working with RMF, enabling them to feed their families and provide for their children. Whereas these ladies would have otherwise struggled to keep themselves and their children alive, they now not only have the ability to earn money, but have also been equipped with life-long skills, thanks to the Rosie May Foundation.
The garments sold at the Rosie May shop are truly some of the best I’ve seen. Made of soft, airy materials, they are the perfect summer/beach clothes, and the best part of all – they are sold at such amazing prices! For products of such high quality made via ethical labour, the prices are truly fantastic, affordable even by us students. They also feature various styles, colours and patterns for each product, and during my internship I tried to highlight these products by creating graphics for the Instagram page, some of which are pictured below.
The @tuktukasianweddings account is a fairly new one, created when the foundation started hiring out their authentic pink tuktuks for private functions. Rosie, one of the pink tuktuks at RMF, has since made an appearance at several weddings – the pictures never fail to amaze me, with their bursts of colour and glamorous outfits.
I also created several videos for the @tuktukasianweddings account. From Instagram reels to Tiktok videos, I got a chance to try them all! Thanks to this experience, I can now say I actually know how to use Tiktok!
All in all, I was very pleased with my summer internship with the Rosie May Foundation. The impact the foundation has is truly magnificent – I was struck by what a difference they have made in so many families’ lives. What I love so much is that the changes they make aren’t fleeting, momentary changes – these are real, long-term changes that can help these families for many years to come.
Recently, they very kindly published an appreciation post on their social media acknowledging my work for them over the summer. Words cannot describe how humbled I felt seeing the appreciation I felt in that post – it was honestly one of the most humbling, yet immensely satisfying moments of my life. Knowing that your work has made a difference to someone is a very gratifying feeling indeed. I am immensely lucky to have had the privilege to work with such a revolutionary charity that is attempting to break boundaries and is smashing the patriarchy, one project at a time.
In a world where #NotAllMen has become more common that #YesAllWomen, the need to progress feminist movements further is now more important than ever. Although a century has passed since women first got the right to vote, we still can’t walk down the street without being objectified or go for a night out without fear of having our drinks spiked. Yet, for some absurd reason, calling yourself a feminist has become an eyebrow-raising comment.
For many, the whole idea of feminism is just unnecessary (this is the case for the majority of the world that actually benefit from the patriarchy, and do not wish to lose the unfair advantage they have (although they would never actually admit it). For many others, they have no issue calling themselves a feminist, but the true crux of the matter is that their “feminism” only goes so far – these are the people you’d often hear say “I’m all for feminism, but… ” . What they don’t realise is, when there is a “but” in that sentence, they really aren’t true feminists – they only want women to be equal insofar as they don’t lose their own advantages because of the patriarchy. These examples highlight the need for organizations such as the Rosie May Foundation, and the even more burning need for projects such as Project Hope – the world needs to change, and we all need to play our part in it.
Now, I’m not naive enough to think that all this can change overnight – the issue at hand is large enough that it would take decades, if not centuries to achieve a truly equal world. But, I would also hate not doing anything about it – and so, my way of fighting back against the patriarchy, with my (very) limited resources, was to volunteer for the Rosie May Foundation.
Looking back, I can very proudly say that my experience with them was, indeed extremely rewarding. It is a truly exhilarating feeling, knowing that your contribution is helping make a real difference back home. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children the foundation works with, always makes my heart full. These are real people back home, and I’ve seen on countless occasions, how much of a struggle life can be for them. The foundation is helping change that.
Although my internship with RMF has now come to an end, I know that I will always be an avid follower of the foundation’s journey. I hope to spend time at the Rosie May Foundation pre-school, based in Southern Sri Lanka, helping educate young girls and breaking the invisible barriers they face due to gender stereotypes and gender-based discrimination that is unfortunately rampant all over the world right now.
I’m so truly grateful to have found an organization that shares my dream of giving every little girl and woman an equal world to call home. Big as that dream may be, I feel reassured that there is still hope – there is hope, thanks to charities such as the Rosie May Foundation.