Zoe Hodge didn’t plan on studying, until she came across the plight of the Rohingya refugees.
Struck by the persecution and violence that forced more than 900,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar, Zoe decided she couldn’t stand by and watch.
“After travelling and working for a couple of years, I felt inspired to study social justice at university,” she said.
“My main interests are human rights and the ongoing plight of the Rohingya refugees.”
Zoe found a home in the School of Social Sciences and was recently successful in securing a highly sought-after internship with West Australian based anti-slavery organisation Walk Free.
She spent two weeks in Perth, working with Walk Free’s research, faith, and business and government engagement teams, experiencing their relentless activity against modern slavery.
“I was really interested because I knew of the impactful work of Walk Free, so I was motivated to apply,” Zoe said.
“The experience was genuinely rewarding. Although it started off a bit nerve-wracking, and it was a bit of a learning curve, I am really grateful for the opportunity.”
Walk Free is an international human rights group working to accelerate the end of all forms of modern slavery. The organisation works with governments and regulators, businesses and investors, and faith and community leaders to drive systems change.
Walk Free is also the creator of the Global Slavery Index, the world’s most comprehensive data set on modern slavery.
Walk Free’s internship program offers students a unique opportunity to work across the different areas of the organisation, developing a deeper understanding of modern slavery and the actions required to address it. Students can take this knowledge forward and become catalysts for positive change both now and in their future roles.
“It’s fantastic to host students like Zoe with us, as they get the chance to learn more about modern slavery and contribute to our work in a meaningful way,” Walk Free mentor Gabrielle Ashworth said.
The program will continue, with University of Tasmania students in majors such as Sociology, Politics and International Relations in the Bachelor of Arts eligible to apply.
“Throughout the internship, I learnt so much from the team and it really affirmed my determination to pursue a career in human rights,” Zoe said.
“The team were so friendly and it was amazing to be able to work with them.”
If you’re interested in international human rights, find out more about the University’s Social Sciences courses here.
Image: Gabrielle Ashworth (third from left) and Zoe Hodge (fourth) with colleagues