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Navashna

Navashna Gajathar

2021 Intern

With her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from Wits University, and passion for social and environmental justice, Navashna Gajathar hopes to become a voice for those who are voiceless and to advocate for meaningful change in the world.

She is one of the WWF interns and says that her position as an Environmental Manager intern at the South African National Parks (SANParks) in Pretoria has opened her eyes to many possibilities for her career. Her legal background comes in handy in her role which involves providing legal support to the national park’s agreements review and administration processes.

We asked her to tell us more about herself and her career goals:

What are you passionate about?
Justice for both nature and people. Environmental degradation does not only affect nature, it affects humans too, but it especially affects those who rely directly on natural resources in their daily lives. My passion therefore lies in making a difference to enable meaningful environmental and social change.

What inspired your choice of study?
Growing up, I often used to visit the Kruger National Park with my family. I believe this sparked my interest in the natural environment. As I grew older, I became more aware of the impact of human lifestyle choices on the environment, and the lives of those living alongside nature. My LLB degree is a way for me to have a positive impact – directly or indirectly – in the world by influencing structural institutions and bodies that cause environmental degradation and consequently affect individuals’ access to natural resources. 

What excites you about your internship?
I am excited about the practical experience I am gaining in the field of conservation. This kind of job was a bit of an enigma to me before I began my internship as I had not been exposed to what takes place behind the scenes at our national parks. I have since seen the amount of effort and time put towards creating the environments and areas through which nature and wildlife are conserved.

My internship has really opened my eyes to the future possibilities in my work within conservation and the environmental sector. It has shown me how diverse and malleable the sector is.

What are your expectations of this internship?
In addition to obtaining practical work experience and skills, I hope to get guidance for my career ahead and learn about the different avenues I could take in the conservation sector.

What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?
I hope to provide a voice for those who cannot speak, thereby advocating for meaningful change and influencing policy at a local, national or international level. I also wish to improve education and upliftment at a grassroots level in relation to issues that vulnerable groups face. It is often these individuals who are most affected by environmental degradation and face challenges of access to resources like land, water, education, legal systems and so on.

Who inspires you the most and why?
The thing that inspires me the most is the way in which my career and the work I may do can influence the world around me. I hope to see the real-life changes conservation work can have in my life and my career.

I am also inspired by the many like-minded people who are contributing to a working relationship between people and nature.

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