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Grassrooted works on HIV, drugs, sexuality, violence, gender… issues that some people approach comfortably. Our intention is not to cause discomfort, but whatever we do, we must make people think.

Interns must believe in the potential for people to think, to change, to discover new, often unpopular, and, on occasion, inappropriate truths. Truths they probably always knew, but were afraid to accept as fact.

When there is work to be done, and we are on the hunt for someone with specific skills, we put up a call right here.  If you think you like what we do, you can also get in touch with us at trust@grassrooted.net to see what we can work out for you.

Internships depend on needs. What we need. What you need. Details need to be discussed sooner than later, and expectations must be clear. We enjoy what we do, and we don’t want anything avoidable to get in the way of our mutual goals.

If you are coming to us from outside Sri Lanka, a functional understanding of English at the very least is essential, and depending on the placement, fluency in reading and writing will be essential.

Let’s follow these general steps:

Step 1 – Send us an email. This can be an expression of interest, or just an inquiry.

Step 2 – CV and two unrelated references, with their email IDs, so we can check on how suitable you are for the post.

Step 3 – Discuss logistics and costs. For example, we do not charge for food and accommodation, but we do not pay for flights.

Step 4 – Clarify expectations. What you need to do. What support you can expect. Let’s clearly define timelines.

Don’t leave your passion at home.  Just your prejudice. 


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HasangeeHasangee is working on the accurate and comprehensive, age appropriate relationship education programme we have in place for S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia. In addition to this, with the Grassrooted Trust she hopes to learn, gain exposure and get involved with the different work carried out by Grassrooted, especially with the education of young people and empowerment of marginalized people.

Hasangee is currently reading for an LLB with the University of Wolverhampton.


Kartini PicKartini currently works with us on the media programme, compiling our annual report on reportage in relation to key populations in the national press. The press coverage of key populations; sex workers, people who use drugs, those who identify as transgender, gay and bi-sexual men often contributes to the understanding we have of these marginalized communities, and in Sri Lanka more often than not the press furthers the stereotype and contributes to the increase of stigma, discrimination and prejudice against these populations. Kartini’s previous volunteer experience has been through the Rotaract Club of American National College where she is reading for a bachelor’s degree in psychology.


NethmiNethmi, together with Kartini works with us on the media programme, compiling our annual report on reportage in relation to key populations in the national press. She is also interested in the rights of people who use drugs in Sri Lanka and is helping us review global practices with the aim of beginning a discussion around Harm Reduction in Sri Lanka. Her volunteer experience was during her time with the Rotaract Club of American National College, where Nethmi currently reading for a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.



SalomeSalome De Silva joined Grassrooted while reading for her masters in ‘counselling and psycho-social support’. A teacher by profession, she was itching to get involved in the business of helping people! With previous experience working with children who have been sexually abused, she is passionate and committed to work alongside the education system and cement any gaps. She currently works with us on the Sound Mind Sound Body Programme, strengthening accurate, comprehensive and age-appropriate approaches to sexuality education.

She holds a bachelors Degree in English from the University of Colombo.


UdaUda Deshapriya has volunteered with organizations working on sexual and reproductive health and rights for over three years and she currently volunteers with Family Planning Association with Sri Lanka. She is also the Joint Secretary of South Asia Regional Youth Network of IPPF. Uda helped develop the comprehensive sexuality education programme for S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia, and supported our theatre initiatives with the cutting room floor, by producing .

Uda is reading for an LLB in the University of Colombo.


MahnoorMahnoor Shahid Javaid is an undergraduate student majoring in biotechnology from the Forman Christian College, Pakistan. She has a keen interest in working for humanity and health issues around the world. She has worked as an intern in the Fatima Memorial Hospital in Pakistan along with other voluntary projects. In Sri Lanka she interned with Grassrooted to help develop a website that addresses sexual and reproductive health and rights issues in Sri Lanka, including HIV and gender.


FajarFajar Hamid is an undergraduate student majoring in Environmental sciences from Forman Christian College, Pakistan. She is interested in developing her skill set in order to engage with the vital human element of environmental science.  She has previously interned with the SOS village orphanage and has worked on rural development programs in the north of Pakistan. She is working for Grassrooted on the launch of a new clothing line that will help us be self-sustainable.


Mustafa MustafaMustafa Hussain Mehkary is a student from Pakistan who is interning with us.  He came to Sri Lanka through the international organization AIESEC. He has been working for Grassrooted on editing content for a comprehensive website on sexual and reproductive health and rights. He has previously volunteered in Shaukat Khanum Cancer Research hospital and has been working as a medical transcriptionist for the past year.

He has good English language skills and is eager to learn and understand the field of social work and health. He currently attends Forman Christian College in Pakistan and is in his 2nd year there. He is majoring in Biotechnology and intends to minor in Psychology.


NaveeshaNaveesha  Wijewickrama interned with us in 2013. She has a special degree in Philosophy and Psychology. She graduated from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. Currently, she is following a higher national diploma in counseling at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI). She has the skills to work with different communities, and in the past worked closely with differently able unite of Sri Jayewardenepura University, and her undergraduate dissertation was “Is sexual jealousy a reason for women’s violence with special reference to female prisoners at Welikada prison”. A keen mind, passionate and committed, Naveesha interned with us to develop the comprehensive sexuality education programme, for S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia,which is being implemented in 2014.


Kushan Kushan Nanayakkara is currently in his 3rd year at the National Institute of Social Development pursing a bachelors degree in Social Work. A thinker, he is currently working on Grassrooted’s Media programme.




StevieStevie Wilky, from Dundee, Scotland, worked with us on Wake Up Pune in 2006 and 2008, and then returned to the sub-continent to work with Grassrooted in Sri Lanka in 2013. A gifted artist, Stevie was responsible for iconic Wake Up Pune mascot, Major Tom, and our new logo, the G Move, which encapsulates the intimacy and support Grassrooted strives for, and this will also be the logo for all our products, including fashion line.  Stevie’s talent is thankfully accessible while she is away, and remains a valuable asset to us. She is off to art school this Autumn, and we look forward to her sharing her new learning with us.


Kapila In 2010 Kapila, in his third year of a Bachelors in Social Work at the National Institute of Social Development joined us as an intern. A talented young actor Kapila has worked on BCC development workshops with NWC and also acted and directed a play in Sinhala and Tamil for World AIDS Day in Vavuniya. Kapila always leads Grassrooted Street Theatre initiatives and was a key player in the recently concluded ICC World Cup HIV Campaign in 2011. In April 2011 Kapila received a Ashoka Youth Ventures Grant to develop a network of young actors across Sri Lanka to work on issues affecting the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender communities. Kapila now works as a women’s empowerment advocate, primarily focusing on changing the attitudes of men and boys in Sri Lanka.


 In 2011 UrmilaPullat a law student (ILS Law College) from Pune, India spent 6 weeks with us in researching on the Transgender community in Sri Lanka in partnership with DAST. She conducted focus group discussions and key informant interviews with people who identify as transgender in Sri Lanka, including male to female (MTF) and female to male (FTM) identities. DAST was instrumental in setting up these interviews and discussions and Urmila was able to gather a reasonable amount of date from which we can analyse what it means to be transgender in Sri Lanka. In India too she has experience working with the community and with her research specifically focusing on socio-economic interventions for this marginalized and misunderstood community. Ultimately, Urmila would like to draw a comparison between the two countries vis-à-vis the trans community.


In 2011 Katie came to us via Wake Up Pune with a background as a young Peer Sex Educator for the student-lead sexual health awareness initiative Unisex Manchester in Northwest England (UK).  She had also completed her final year BSc Psychology with a qualitative analysis of local Sex and Relationships Education.  3 months prior to graduating, Katie began as Research and Evaluation Officer at Rochdale Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, part of the UK’s teenage conception reduction initiative.  Her work with the local young South Asian community saw her team nominated for the Brook, national sexual health charity, Project-of-the-Year award 2010.  Empowering young people to conduct research within their community ensured sexual health practitioners gained genuine ground-level insight to young South Asian sexual health attitudes and behaviour. In Sri Lanka she worked closely with the Grassrooted team to finalize a great tool on relationships and sex for young people in collaboration with the HIV prevention Lab at Ryerson University, Canada, which is finally being implemented in 2013 as The You Study. She also worked on researching the Positive Living manual for the Sri Lankan HIV positive community, which is an ILO/UNDP Sri Lanka led project.


Ishita was with us from India from September to December 2010 where she worked with the YP Foundationwhere she was Coordinator Advocacy, Project 19; Know your Body Know Your Rights! Ishita is a great young trainer and put her skills to good use with the Rotaract HIV & Youth Campaign and also worked on developing Peer Education Tools for the joint Sarvodaya/UNFPA project. Ishita also helped to put together the internship,volunteer programme during her first stint with us. In 2012 Ishita returned to work with us to design the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programme for S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia, where we drew on her previous experiences of working on CSE curricula for schools in India. Ishita is just finishing up her Human Rights Masters at Columbia University, and we look forward to her next stint with us.


 In 2010 Charmaine worked with Grassrooted mainly on the HIV manual to be used during a training of people living with HIV as part of a Positive Living intervention to be run jointly with the FPASL and Grassrooted. Unfortunately, this project never got off the ground due to internal issues at FPASL, but her work continues to influence how we approach HIV interventions. In addition Charmaine volunteered on all HIV prevention and awareness events and contributed her local and international knowledge on relationships and issues around sex with young people. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from Wilson College, Pennsylvania, USA and also worked as a research assistant position at the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.


 In 2010 Gargi came to us after her stint with the World Food Programme in New York. Her task was to set up a nutrition training programme for people living with HIV as part of the intended Positive Living Intervention with FPASL. With her MSc in Dietics from the School of Health Sciences,University of Pune, and her MSc in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, she was the ideal candidate. It was a tragedy that her time with us could not have been maximized upon due to the falling through of the project. Sri Lanka’s loss.

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