Written by Jenna Mackle
Like many, I have just graduated university and entered the ‘real world.’ I’ve been studying and playing music my entire life. Up until a year or two ago, I always assumed I would end up pursuing a career in music. Now, I’m not so sure. In typical, newly graduated style, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll end up doing next month, never mind for a career. But that’s exciting, right?
This weekend marks the end of an intense week of bootcamp training with _SocialStarters, an innovative and fresh way of working in international development. It feels great to now be able to say I am a Social Enterprise Consultant.
So why Social Entrepreneurship? To be completely honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I applied for SocialStarters Rio. I stumbled across the Ad on Escape The City one bored night and thought I’d give it go, but never imagined that I would actually be successful. After all the buzz around finishing university, partying and having a great time, I didn’t give myself time to think on what I expected this project to be like. I guess I felt it was going to be similar to other volunteering trips abroad I had experienced or read about. I was so wrong.
Before this trip, I was in a state of limbo about my passions and career – I was deeply interested in international development and even local social change, but felt the politics surrounding this line of work to be discouraging. Would I really be able to help change a community? Who was I to take on this responsibility? Why would they need a small, young, Irish girl to inspire them to make positive change? Perhaps many communities don’t want to change. The more I researched and thought about it the more I felt that this line of work could possibly be more about appeasing Western guilt still hanging on from Colonialist times. Alongside that, came the inherent Western ideology of superiority to some of these people we are trying to help. Perhaps, the developed world doesn’t have all the answers. One could say I became slightly cynical.
The last week I’ve spent at bootcamp has changed my perception, and now I truly believe Social Enterprises can be a sustainable way to make a change in communities that need it the most. In comparison to international aid development (which, at the right time and place is crucial), Social Entrepreneurship is about empowering the disempowered to make sustainable changes using their own skills and knowledge.
Over the next five weeks I will be working with my assigned client, Wanderson Luna, a passionate social entrepreneur interested in promoting ‘authentic’ Samba in Rio De Janeiro, and how this coincides with expression of local black identity and social inclusion. I’m certain Luna and I will make a great team, producing something we can both be very proud of. I will be updating the blog regularly with how the project is going, and will dedicate an introduction blog to Wanderson Luna and his project soon.
Currently sitting in my home for the next six weeks in Flamengo, with stunning views of the ocean, I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to have such an amazing opportunity so soon after graduating. The team at _SocialStarters has given me this once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of something really special, and I am so grateful.
Previously published on: https://jennamackle.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/so-why-social-entrepreneurship/
#JoinUs on a programme and volunteer with grassroots social entrepreneurs.
India – 24th October (6 weeks) || Brazil – 31st October (6 weeks) || India – 31st January (6 weeks) || Sri Lanka – 13th February (6 Weeks) || Brazil – 19th March (6 weeks) . To apply, send your email with a cover note to firstname.lastname@example.org and clearly state in the subject heading which programme and what date you are applying for. If successful, you will invited to a Skype interview with one of the team!