Thursday, March 29, 2012

IOFA Welcomes Northwestern Intern, Meesoh Kim!

Meesoh Kim, IOFA Intern

Like most undergrads, I would describe myself as a navigator who keeps on trying new things in an attempt to figure out exactly what it is that I want to do with my life. Despite 3 years of new (and often random) experiences, however, I can’t say that I have found my path yet. But as I am looking back at my life to trace what has brought me to IOFA, I am noticing a broad but clear theme: a strong interest in children’s rights.

I believe it started 2 summers ago when I “interned” at the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. I was merely a freshman in college at the time and had very limited knowledge in any human rights-related issue. Justifiably, my supervisor saw little use of me and dumped on me the humdrum job of translating some English documents to Korean. But I guess I was a good enough translator that one day, I found a couple of general comments on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on my desk for me to translate. As I had to carefully review every word on those documents, I quickly gained important knowledge as well as a strong interest in children’s rights that summer. Since then, many of the activities I have been involved in have been motivated by this interest in children’s rights and children’s rights advocacy.

And it is this interest that has led me to IOFA. While I cannot say I had a lot of prior knowledge in human trafficking issues, IOFA’s dedication to improve the lives of highly vulnerable adolescents deeply resonated with me and has thus led me here. I feel very blessed for this opportunity to learn more about trafficking and to contribute in alleviating the problem.

I will be mainly working on the Asian American Trafficking Outreach Project, which seeks to strengthen the capacity of Asian American-serving organizations in Chicago to serve the victims of human trafficking. I will also be involved in the Transition Initiatives in Ethiopia as I will be researching organizations that can help us aid adolescents transition out of institutional care into successful adult lives that are free of trafficking threats. I am excited for the insight I will gain during this work and I can already see myself coming out of this experience as a stronger children’s rights advocate. And who knows? I may even come out of this with a clear path I want to take after I graduate from college! Sounds ambitious? We’ll see…

But for now, let the work begin!

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