Me, myself and IARS

Before interning at IARS I knew I wanted to pursue a career in advocacy. The last 12 weeks here have only confirmed this to me and provided me with renewed drive to reach my goal. Interning at IARS has honestly been a wonderful experience and I urge anyone thinking about it to apply!

After completing my undergraduate degree, I was at a loss over what to do during the summer that would enable me to use the skills I had developed whilst cultivating new ones that would be useful for my eventual career. I was lucky enough that an organisation I reached out to directed me towards IARS. It was with genuine shock that I researched IARS, a non-profit that seemed like (and was!) the perfect place for me to carry out my placement, as an institute that carries out important work on youth empowerment and civic participation, which aligns closely with my own interests.

Over my placement, I was able to work on a variety of projects tailored towards my areas of intrigue including the empowerment of young people, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. As a result, this was a holistic internship that enabled me to develop a range of skills. Initially, I was assigned to carry out research for Queer Migrants, this alerted me to the influential figures in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and eventually I was tasked to write a blog post about Marsha P Johnson which was paramount in improving my knowledge on the LGBTQ+ community. I subsequently worked on the YES project, researching, and reporting on community initiatives established in London. I also had the opportunity to work for YOU_WEEN, curating social media posts to encourage young women to get involved in green entrepreneurship which was particularly rewarding for me. I finished my placement working on EDEEY, which aimed at establishing a taught module on social enterprise for high school students, here I liked the responsibility that came with a task that was solely assigned to me.

Ultimately, this internship gave me a real sense of what its like to work for a non-profit and crucial insight into the sector which has been really useful in helping me decide the next steps in my career. I was able to advance skills I had developed at university and acquire numerous new skills through writing pieces such as blog posts and reports that encouraged me to communicate my thoughts in alternative ways than what is expected in an academic setting. Perhaps most significantly, my placement at IARS empowered me to be more confident over the work I produce which will definitely be invaluable for my professional and personal development.

Despite working remotely got a real sense of the friendly culture at IARS in every call and interaction I had with colleagues, who went out of their way to offer me continuous support, feedback, and kindness. I am especially grateful to Sophia and Maija who were both incredibly accommodating and understanding supervisors, I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with them.

I am immensely grateful for my experience interning at IARS, I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 12 weeks.

By Gjeni Doda


We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  


Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: +44(0) 7833 224442  


Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.