Legal advocacy group “Speak Up,” whose mission is to promote legal rights of poor and unrepresented peoples, provided much-needed legal consultation and training in the Samaki Pattana community on Saturday, November 13. Seven bright law students from Chulalongkorn University held a consultation clinic for adults and children’s rights education activity for youth.
Partnering with the community council and the local Society of Friends who suggested creating training relating to the topic of individual and domestic rights, eight adult residents participated and brought their own slew of questions ranging from land ownership, reporting sexual abuse, access to education, interaction with police, and understanding debt. After the training, when asked whether this was a useful seminar, one community leader remarked, “Absolutely! None of us has the time or ability to get personal lawyers or learn about the law, so it was really helpful to have people with legal knowledge come educate us.”
Law students also prepared a kids’ activity, playing games and teaching on children’s rights. 24 youth (ages 3-13) participated in the fun and snack-laden event. Our hope is that children will be informed and confident of their rights for their own protection and growth.
Director of Speak Up, Troy Anderson, who in addition to teaching law at Chulalongkorn University, has been active in training students in using their skills to assist the poor, hopes that this will be the first of many legal trainings in both Samaki Pattana and in other communities. Troy values the educational exchange between law students and poorer communities, giving students the opportunity to learn about the issues that affect the poor while residents learn about their rights and the legal process. And to that end, one law student, after hearing about a particularly moving case in the adult clinic was fired up to explore legal means and ramifications to promote justice.
Residents expressed excitement to welcome Speak Up back to the community and the follow-up to this preliminary event.
Many thanks to Troy Anderson, the law students from Chulalongkorn University, and Debbie Maddocks for taking photos.
You can find out more about Speak Up at their website: http://speakupforthepoor.org/