Over the years, Together has had a variety of talented and hard-working interns who have made an invaluable contribution and have gone on to do great things.
Read on to learn about some of Together's interns, what they did, their background and where they are now.
Siti Zaleha Binti Mohd Ali- Policy & Research Intern (2021-22)
After four years of working as an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia, Siti decided to further her postgraduate study to enhance her proficiency and understanding about human rights, in particular, women’s and children’s rights - a passion and interest that Siti developed while practicing as a lawyer and from her participation in NGOs.
Siti moved to Edinburgh to undertake her Master at the University of Edinburgh in September 2020 during which she completed her work-based placement with Together. Her research project analysed how the Human Rights Act 1998 has impacted children’s rights in the United Kingdom in anticipation of Scotland’s implementation of the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill and future incorporation of international human rights treaties. Siti recently graduated with LLM in Human Rights and she is joining Together as Policy and Research Intern. Siti is looking forward to continue learning and researching as well as to contribute to the development of children’s rights at a national level, here in Scotland.
Marianiki Vlachou - Participation Intern (2021-22)
Marianiki’s engagement with the third sector started in 2017. Prior to moving to Edinburgh, she studied Political Science and International Affairs and worked in Education and Refugee Relief with an NGO in Athens, Greece. In 2019, Marianiki moved to the UK to study towards her LLM in Human Rights Law at the University of Edinburgh, during which she completed a research project with Together. This research examined how the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been used by courts since its ratification in 1991 to decide cases affecting children throughout Scotland and more broadly across the UK. In August 2021, Marianiki joined the Together team as a Participation Intern, working on the Interim Consortium project, succouring children and young people’s participation to support Scottish Government’s strategic decision-making in implementing the UNCRC in Scotland. Whilst working at Together, Marianiki will also be pursuing her MSc in International Negotiations, specialising in Intercultural Mediation. Marianiki’s research interests include Children Rights, Gender Equality, IHL, Security Sector Reform and Refugee and IDPs Rights. In her free time, she enjoys being a cat, dog and plant mom. Painting and dancing are her remedies.
Mercy Tochukwu Christopher - Research & Events Intern (2021)
Before joining Together, Mercy worked for two years as a human rights lawyer with an NGO in Nigeria. Mercy advocated for social justice in support of indigenous groups whose livelihoods and human rights were and continue to be adversely impacted by oil exploration in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Mercy moved to Edinburgh for her master’s programme in Human Rights at the University of Edinburgh, where she has been able to broaden her knowledge and skills in human rights advocacy. As a Research and Events intern with Together, Mercy will be supporting the development of the State of Children’s Rights Report 2021 which aims to capture the challenges faced in the implementation of children’s rights and highlight promising practices organisations could learn from. Mercy has always been keen to work with and develop a further understanding of the lived experiences of children and marginalised groups. Mercy is excited about the prospects of gaining a deeper insight into the experiences of children and practices that promote the realisation of children’s rights in Scotland.
Since leaving Together, Mercy has started a new role as Research Assistant with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.
Helen Schwittay - Communications Intern (2021)
I moved to Glasgow to undertake my BA in Media and Communications in 2012. After three years of working for an international FMCG organisation, I decided to return to full time education to undertake an LLM in Human Rights Law at the University of Strathclyde in order to facilitate a career change into a sector where I can help others, as I’ve always been passionate about human rights and equality. My LLM research focus considered the implementation of international human rights law treaties at a national level in order to address gender-based violence against women and girls. Whilst studying, I have also been working as the communications officer for the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, growing the promotion and engagement around The COVID 4P Log and consequently growing my interest and knowledge about children’s rights globally. I’m delighted to take on this role as Together's communications intern, and look forward to continuing my learning of children’s rights at a national level, here at home in Scotland.
Martina Trusgnach - Communications Intern (2020)
I joined Together as their Communications Intern in October 2020, and I will be mostly involved in writing newsletter articles and social media posts. I’m originally from Italy, but I’ve lived in Edinburgh for the past five years, after moving here to study Russian and Politics for my undergraduate degree. I have always been passionate about social justice, and have taken part in various project aimed at the empowerment of vulnerable people, both in Scotland and abroad. Having just finished my master’s in Human Rights Law, I am very excited to continue researching and writing about children’s rights with Together!
Molly Little - Policy & Events Intern (2020)
I joined Together in June 2020 after recently completing a LLB (Hons) degree at the University of Edinburgh. My studies at university focused on family and child law and I am particularly passionate about the rights of children affected by domestic abuse, those who are care experienced and ensuring human rights responses are intersectional. For the last year, I led the Edinburgh branch of Girl Up Edinburgh, and launched a campaign which aimed to increase awareness of gender-based violence which affects girls and women in Scotland and internationally. My main role at Together has been to support the delivery of our State of Children's Rights Webinar series. I am really enjoying the opportunity to collaborate with organisations who work directly with children (and brushing up on my Zoom skills!) and gaining a broader understanding of the links between law, policy and practice.
Lovisa Backman - Policy & Research Intern (2019)
Lovisa moved to Scotland in 2013 to study psychology and sociology at the University of Glasgow. During her time here, she became passionate about human rights and the empowerment of vulnerable people through her involvement with various third sector organisations, in roles as an adviser, mentor and befriender. She is a keen researcher and delved into to the depths of children’s rights policy and research whilst working on Together's 2019 State of Children’s Rights report. In 2019, Lovisa also completed a graduate law conversion course at the University of Edinburgh. Originally from Sweden, Lovisa has lived most of her life in Belgium, and enjoys speaking in a mixture of languages.
Since leaving Together, Lovisa has started a new role as Research Assistant at Sweden's Institute for Social Research. This has led her to analyse the effects of childcare policy reform within the European Union.
Katie Burke - Policy & Research Intern (2019)
Katie is a Policy and Research Intern at Together for summer 2019. She is researching policy and legal changes in Scotland as part of preparation for Together’s 2019 State of Children’s Rights Report. Katie comes to Together with a background in youth politics. She was an MSYP from the ages of 14 to 20, culminating in her leading the Youth Parliament as its Chairperson in 2016. During this time Katie worked on children’s rights issues, welcoming the Vice Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to Scotland and giving evidence to the Committee in Geneva. Katie also served as a member of the Commission on Parliamentary Reform, and takes a keen interest in the Scottish Parliament and young people’s involvement in democracy. Katie has an MA in International Relations from the University of St Andrews. She is currently on a Fulbright Scholarship in America, studying towards a two-year Masters in Human Rights, with a concentration in Children’s Rights at the University of Minnesota. For the last six months she has been interning for Think Small, an early years advocacy charity in Minnesota, attempting to increase the availability of quality childcare and introduce paid family leave in the state.
John Walker - Events Intern (2018)
I joined together as an Events Intern in September 2018 to organise the Scottish Children's Rights Action Plan Consultation Conference. I had heard a lot about Together through my work as an MSYP (Almond Valley, West Lothian) and when the opportunity to be involved and work with the charity came up I jumped at it. Working here for the past few weeks has proven to me how challenging it can be to work in the third sector, but it has also shown me how rewarding it is when something you've done pays off. My time here has allowed me to build on my organisational and communication skills which I'm sure will help me in anything else I decide to do.
Joanna Shepherd - Policy and Research Intern (2016)
I joined Together in the summer of 2016 as a Policy and Research Intern to assist with the writing of the State of Children's Rights report. After graduating with an MSc in Health Inequalities and Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh in 2016, where I undertook research on the health impacts of informal caregiving in minority ethnic communities, I continued working at Together as an Assistant Policy and Communications Officer and then as a Policy Officer. I recently left Together to undertake a new role as Policy and Advocacy Officer at Plan International. My role at Together enabled me to build significant knowledge of children's rights and human rights systems, and I hope that I'll be able to apply these skills when advocating for children's rights at an international level.
Nick Moodie - Policy and Research Intern (2016)
I joined Together as an intern in June 2016, after having left legal research work in Melbourne to further my legal education in Edinburgh. It was an exciting time to be involved with Together as the 2016 UNCRC Concluding Observations were released soon after I joined, and Juliet and the team began evaluating its contents immediately. This document was a valuable starting point for a comprehensive review of the state of children’s rights in Scotland undertaken by Together, which resulted in the 2016 State of Children’s Rights report. I was lucky enough to contribute to a number of chapters of this report, using information previously gathered from consultation with Together’s members as well as research into recent developments in legislation and policy impacting the well-being of children in Scotland. My time with Together also allowed me to attend and participate in conferences, training days, discussions with partner organisations and meetings at Parliament- I felt I was right in the centre of the action for policy development on children’s rights in Scotland, and enjoyed every moment of my time with the wonderful Together team.
Katie Walsh - Development Intern (2015)
Before I started my internship at Together, I worked for a private sector consultancy company for four years. I decided that I wanted a career change, and I was drawn to the third sector as I have always loved volunteering. Working with children's charities in India, Uganda and Peru also gave me a keen interest in children's rights. It was hard to find a job in the charity sector without any professional experience, but the position at Together finally gave me the chance I needed.
My role at Together was to develop a business plan for a new training programme in children's rights directed at public bodies and NGOs, specifically focused on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. I also helped the Policy and Communications Officer to deliver training seminars at a conference in Aberdeen. The work was challenging and stimulating, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also had a great time working with the Together team who were extremely welcoming, friendly and supportive.
Because of the skills and experience I gained through the internship, I was able to get a permanent job with an international public health charity supporting business development activities for the organisation. I now work in London developing supporter communications for a homelessness charity called St Mungo's. Together gave me the skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue the career I really wanted in the charity sector.
Liz Millership - Membership and Events Intern (2014)
I started as a Membership and Events intern for Together working 2 days a week in September 2014, on returning to the UK from my teaching job in Japan. Working with Together's membership base of 300 allowed me to quickly get a feel for the sector I was working in, the policy and legislative environment and key stakeholders involved. My first large task was to assist in the organisation of Together's 2014 State of Children's Rights report launch.
My role as an intern shifted and progressed from 2 days a week, to 3 days and eventually to full time, from intern to assistant to officer and then, finally, to Policy and Communications Officer. After leaving Together at the end of 2017, I have since joined the World Food Programme in Dubai as Senior Operational Management and Communications Officer .
Ross Oke - Policy and Research Intern (2013)
I interned at Together in 2013 to gain a better understanding of children's rights. Before joining, I cofounded and worked at a child rights NGO that focused specifically on adoption abuses in Korea. Despite this experience, I wanted to move into other areas of children's rights, and Together facilitated this by exposing me to a wide variety of issues. Some of the work included contacting people to participate in seminars for the State of Children's Rights Report and assisting the staff with policy-related papers.
Since leaving, I've continued working with international and local child rights NGOs in different capacities, including representing these groups during UN treaty body reviews on Korea. I currently serve as the human rights adviser in Green Asia Network, an environmental NGO that works with environmental refugees, building sustainable communities in Myanmar and Mongolia. My primary tasks include mainstreaming human and child rights-based approaches throughout our work.
Denys Salas - Policy & Research Intern (2013)
I am originally from Ecuador, and have worked in the non-profit field for over 13 years. I received my Masters of Science in Childhood Studies from the school of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. I interned for Together in 2013, assisting in the development of the State of Children's Rights Report. During my graduate studies, I wrote my thesis on, "What does education mean to me? An exploratory research project on the views on education about institutionalized and non-institutionalized children in Petropolis, Brasil" where I conducted focus groups and individual interviews with orphan children and children with families in Petropolis, Brasil.
I have worked in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention and education since 2008. My program management experience ranges from building homes for individuals who were affected by natural disasters, coordinating a nutritional food program and emotional support groups for women living with HIV and AIDS, developing an after school arts program for high school students in rural Mozambique, providing shelter for homeless youth, and coordinating services for individuals affected by domestic violence. I am currently the Assistant Director of Voces Latinas where I oversee all programs, assist with the agency's operations, and supervise a diverse team committed to addressing the impact of HIV.
Emma Grindulis - Policy Intern (2012)
Now Programme Officer, Child Rights Connect, Geneva
Dhanishtha Kuruvilla - Policy Intern (2012)
Now Membership and Engagement Associate, Girls Not Brides
Emma and Dhanishtha both interned at Together in 2012, assisting with policy and communication. During the same year, they both graduated with Masters degrees in Children's Policy Studies at the University of Edinburgh. They then both worked at Eurochild, where Emma was on secondment from Together as Advocacy and Parliamentary Officer, and Dhanishtha was a Policy and Advocacy Trainee.