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My name is Riccardo Bassetti and I am currently interning at Al-Khair Foundation’s International Department based in London.
Originally from Rome, Italy, I have been globetrotting since I was a child. This not only allowed me to visit many different places as well as gain firsthand experience of many cultures, but it eventually conferred me an international profile.
Growing up in Rome was as incredible as many could possibly imagine. I received an outstanding education under the shadows of the artifacts of one of the most ancient civilisations. I was trained on fine arts such as music, poetry and painting (although I never really managed to hold the brush in the right position!), and I was able to travel all around Europe to keep my mind malleable, thorough, adaptive, and creative.
Time was flying by, the first summer after high school graduation was dragging along the streets of Rome, and I decided to get my first short novel published. I was young and naïve, with my head filled up with dreams of space travels, Artificial Intelligence and futuristic artifacts, when I came across a picture of Tokyo at night. It was everything a young boy like myself could have ever dreamed of. I was sitting on a bench near Rome’s central station watching people pass by, wondering about my future; two months later I was enrolled in an Asian Studies course at University of Rome, where I studied Japanese language and Asian cultures. Once I completed my Bachelor’s Degree, I packed my bags and moved to Tokyo, and Osaka later on, to further my Japanese language skills. In disembarking in Japan, the country perfectly matched the images and expectations that the young me had of it; what I didn’t know yet was that something inside me had changed, possibly for the good.
Not much time after that, I was sitting once again on the bench near Rome’s central station, with all my packed bags in front of me and a different, yet clear path to follow: the harsh and fulfilling road that leads to international cooperation and development. I chose the university whose program best fitted my ideal of academic education and therefore I ended up at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, undertaking a Master’s Degree in International Relations, along with a Diploma in Global Leadership. The study was thorough and stimulating, I was inspired by several professors of international politics who made my passion for human rights grow firmer and deeper. After two semesters of hard work and intense networking, I managed to continue my passion for human rights with gaining an internship in the Sustainable Development for Cooperation Department at the Macquarie University.
Once I finished my Master’s Degree many people advised me to go back to Italy and get a job within a HR department, which is a good compromise between a well-paid job and a satisfying one. But I knew that that wasn’t suitable for me, not after all the efforts and sacrifices I had made to fulfill my aspiration of making this planet a better place to live in. So I rolled my sleeves up and started working as a volunteer in any non-governmental organisation I came across in my limited time in Sydney, from UNICEF to CARE Australia, Greenpeace, and even a human rights oriented broadcast TV.
When I came back to Rome I sat on the same bench near the central station, I looked around for a while and everything seemed so familiar yet so static. I was changed, but this time I knew the reason: I was finally pursuing my dream career, with my feet on the ground and the glance directed towards a horizon made of infinite possible choices.
It is precisely at this point in time that I firstly came across Al-Khair Foundation (AKF). I was browsing the internet searching for information on Nepal’s recent earthquake and the organisations that were involved in the humanitarian aid and post-reconstruction. I then ended up on the AKF website, which is involved in a fundraising campaign for Nepal. Everything on that website made me want to participate in the organisation, from the water projects implemented throughout Africa to the provision of free medical equipment to hospitals in the Gaza strip. I then looked up on the internet and finally found a vacant position as an intern at in London. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I made the application for it straight away.
I think doing this internship at Al-Khair Foundation is important in so many ways. It gives me a grasp of the international humanitarian crises and the many ways to cope with them through the implementation of aid programmes. I’m surrounded by experts and knowledgeable people who are patiently teaching me a lot about how to get tasks done. I think that this is a great opportunity for my personal improvement and a great chance to boost my career.
In this very moment, I’m writing this short article from Al-Khair Foundation in London, a situation that accurately shows how my dream to work for this fantastic organisation became a reality, and how strongly believing in a dream and making sacrifices towards it really pays off.