I have now been working with billionBricks for 2 very interesting and intense months: also the two reasons why I have enjoyed it so much. My first month, I spent working alongside our Operations Manager, Roanna, in Ubud, Indonesia. She offered me great support and introduced me to the mission, projects and work culture of billionBricks. Since the beginning, I have also mainly been working together with the CEO and co-founder of bB, Prasoon, located in Singapore. Being the driven and inspiring person he is, seeing no limits to what we can achieve together as a team, the first months of my internship have been very stimulating and eye-opening in terms of the impact that we can actually make.
After a month on Bali, I continued my internship in Mumbai, India, where I am currently. Here, I have the opportunity to emerge in field work and to deepen my understanding of the complexity of our projects. Together with my colleague Madhura, I have had the chance to visit one of current water and sanitation projects in the small village of Konchur, Karnataka, giving me an insight in the collaborative aspect of the project, both with other organisations and with the beneficiaries.
Apart from the addition of new interesting work tasks, the transition from Ubud to Mumbai has been, and still is, quite a journey. Having been to India before, I knew to a small extent what to expect, but moving to India, and more specifically to Mumbai, is a different experience. The administrative process, the staggering costs of housing in relation to the income level and all the impressions you get on the streets of Mumbai have all been quite overwhelming aspects of arriving here. The massive crowds; the even more massive morning crowds looking for labour; the people pulling your arms and tapping your face asking for money or food; the homeless sleeping on the streets; the loud continuous (truly continuous) honking; the cows on the streets; the fish sold on the sidewalk; any food sold on the sidewalk; the (billions of) rickshaws; the all-direction traffic ignoring the traffic lights; the thousands of looks (not necessarily because you are a foreigner or a woman, but because you exist); are all just a few of these impressions.
I now have 4 more months of internship. I am eager to see how our projects will develop during this time, and I am convinced we will see an important progress thanks to the committed and hard-working team of billionBricks.
About the author
Åsa is currently finalizing the last year of her master studies in urbanism and international cooperation at Université Grenoble Alpes in France. After architectural studies in both the US and Sweden, she interned and worked as an architect in Stockholm. Looking for new challenges, she left travelling for one year in South-East Asia and Central America. Being someone that loves to work, she took up a freelance mission in marketing and also volunteered with an organization focused on economic empowerment for women in Guatemala. With billionBricks, focused on innovative shelter solutions for the homeless and most vulnerable communities, she is enjoying new challenges once again, but this time through projects having the potential to change billions of lives.