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Kalpana Maraj

2021 Intern

Travelling and interacting with various communities is one of Kalpana Maraj’s personal passions, and sustainability and water resource conservation are topics that really get her blood flowing.

With a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Cape Town, and a love for the environment, Kalpana is determined to make a notable contribution to a sustainable future.
We asked her a few questions about her career choice and her WWF internship position at the Green House, a sustainability consulting firm in Cape Town:
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about sustainability, especially sustainable resource management in industry. An average person can only do so much in their daily life, therefore, it is up to the industry giants to promote change in how they utilise resources to ensure a sustainable future for all. There are many exciting new initiatives regarding this, and I am excited to be part of this paradigm shift.

What inspired your choice of study?
I have an analytical mind. As a child, I loved playing ‘‘scientist’’ and coming up with experiments during playtime. Discovering new knowledge has always been my fascination. That’s why I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering as it seemed like the best place to put my analytical mind to use.
Furthermore, my favourite high school subject was Geography which also influenced my passion for the environment and sustainability. I carried this with me into university by choosing Environmental Science as my elective during my undergrad in Chemical Engineering.
My postgraduate project focused on water resource management in informal settlements. This was inspired by the desire to use my skills to solve some of the pressing resource management problems in South Africa.  

What excites you about your internship?
The opportunity to gain experience in sustainability consulting and be involved in a wide variety of projects is a dream come true! I learn something new every day. I look forward to interacting with fellow interns and forming a community of environmental warriors. Finally, the opportunity to be part of WWF is a cherry on top.

What are your expectations of this internship?
In my intern position as an environmental scientist, I hope to gain the skills and knowledge needed to carry me through my career. I also hope to form a network of passionate like-minded individuals. 

What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?
I hope to contribute to sustainable resource management initiatives that aim to reduce waste and ensure a sustainable resource supply for future generations. I would also love to mentor students who wish to enter the sustainability field as it can be tricky to navigate. I’d like to share what I’ve learnt with others.

Who inspires you the most and why?
My peers from both the WWF internship programme and university inspire me the most. It’s uplifting to see people around me succeeding and accomplishing great things. It makes success seem that much more achievable. It’s also interesting to see how each person is able to take their passion for the environment and sustainability and use their skills and qualifications to make a difference.

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