Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Their “Postcard” from their most recent visit in Nepal:
Sitting down with Shyam Pokharel, director of SASANE, he spoke of the various challenges to the organization’s work of empowering women. Shyam explained the successes of one of their projects: they have provided paralegal training to survivors of sexual exploitation and those seeking to escape it. According to Shyam, a total of 120 women have gone through the training, which involves one month of classroom and 6 months of practical work. One challenging aspect of the program is that the women must have completed high school to enter into the training, since it is required for them to take their certification exam. Shyam explained that there is a lack of funding to help the girls complete high school, which acts as a barrier. The staff in the office was quiet, but they showed me various posters on the walls speaking of gender equality, trafficking laws, and signs of domestic abuse.
After a brief visit with Shyam and his staff, I visited three police stations where the women had just been set up to complete their practical training. At the first police station, I met two women of SASANE, who were seated outside of the building. According to a member of Shyam’s staff, these two women had only started working in the police station the day before. We went into the Women and Children’s building and the SASANE women were introduced to the officers there. They then resumed their position outside near the entrance, to help women file the complicated application forms to file a police report.
At the second police station, we saw a woman from SASANE sitting at a desk next to a female police officer. The woman showed me an application form for a police report, which she had helped a citizen to fill out. I was told the female police officer acts as a mentor to aid in the paralegal work done by the worker of SASANE. While the third police station did not have anyone from SASANE there, we were showed another completed application, filled out to help a citizen file a police report. These one-on-one sessions by the women of SASANE help local Nepali women to navigate the complicated legal system and feel more comfortable telling their stories and filing a police report.
SASANE is starting the new paralegal training for 30 human trafficking survivor girls. The 30 survivor girls have been rescued from the internal as well as external trafficking. Different organizations send the survivor girls to us for the paralegal training. After the training the girls become aware about the legal procedure and become strong enough to assist themselves during the time of difficulty. Due to the legal skill the girls protect themselves, their families as well as their friends.
From February 15 to March 15, 2012 we provided the announcement for application to various organizations to send their survivor girls for the paralegal training. After the application announcement we received 36 applications from the girls for the training. But we need only 30 survivor girls. In March 17 to April 1 we selected 30 survivor girls for the training from the screening test. For the screening test the qualification should be School leaving certificate (S.L.C.) passed otherwise the court will not allow to sit for the paralegal examination. We basically focus on the economic situation, their crisis and problem and their desire to learn paralegal for the screening.
We are starting the theory classes of the paralegal training for 1 month from April 8, 2012. After the completion of the theory classes we provide practical courses for 6 months. For the theory as well as practical courses we need a lot of money. If the money is spent less, we become unable to provide them with the quality knowledge due to the unavailability of stationery, legal document, legal report, their travel cost and many more. We are doing this paralegal training for the survivor girls for their upliftment and betterment and due to your support the girls can do a lot in their life. Without your support the girls may again get re-trafficked. So, with your support the girls will get their life changed. For this work we hope for your support.
The rescued 32 trafficking victims have received paralegal training and also the Public Speaking Training after which they had been placed in different police stations Of Kathmandu Valley for the practical courses. The trainees also gave the paralegal examination in which 28 passed out of 32 examinees. After passing the paralegal examination they were again given the advanced Paralegal training and also the computer training so that they could be efficient in the computer skills as well. Their English language was also given priority for which the English learning training was also given. The paralegals are playing vital roles to provide legal support to the victims.
The paralegals are giving awareness in the topics, human trafficking situation In Nepal, Human Trafficking related law of Nepal, implementation of those law in the police stations as well as the court and the process of eliminating human trafficking and the roles of the school students in the sector of controlling Human Trafficking in the Government schools. Till date we have already provided awareness in 6 government schools in the Kathmandu Valley and to altogether 300 girls and 300 boys. With this activity our paralegals have been expert not only in the paralegal sector but also in training and providing necessary education to the students.
We had asked for $25,000 in which we received just $4,745, even then we worked in the mission of advancing the paralegals and are also successful in it. From this January we are providing paralegal training for the new survivor girls. We again need financial support for the materials required in the training; we hope that the new paralegals will not have to face the same financial crisis that was faced by the former paralegal girls. So, we request you to provide us with the financial support we have asked for so that the survivor girls won’t face any kind of difficulties in receiving the paralegal training. With your small support they will receive a greater change in their life.
28 girls from SASANE have already received the Paralegal Certificate. They have received Advanced Paralegal training as well as the Psycho- Social training with which they have become more skillful and qualified to work more efficiently in the police station. They have been supporting the trafficked victims with the knowledge they have received in this field and in the court by filling cases as well as providing required information. The services provided by the Paralegal girls have been appreciated a lot by the police administration, civil society organizations and the family members and relatives of the victim.
The Paralegal girls have been carrying out this Jaheri(FIR) writing through hand and no fixed data was available. Thus, to enhance the capability of girls to file the FIR in the proper way and to record the data properly and safely, SASANE has been organizing a computer class from August 1st to October 30th, altogether a 3 month course. This computer training is provided by a Swedish civilian Sara Mattsson. With her help 3 Swedish social workers have been providing basic computer training to the SASANE Paralegals through the Skype computer training. Through this help from her the Paralegals have received the basic computer training and now are going towards the advanced course. After the completion of this training SASANE is planning to provide computers in every police station in Kathmandu valley for the Paralegal girls. SASANE is hoping that the girls will provide a computerized Paralegal operation and develop a new technology in providing Paralegal help.
SASANE struggled a lot to provide the necessary Paralegal help as SASANE did not receive the asked amount. Even then we did not stop and also advance the Paralegal’s skill and also make it sustainable as well.
We again ask for your support so that we can help the Paralegals even more and also change the society. We hope to have your support in every initiation that we take. Thank you.
SASANE from June 14, to June 29, 2011 organized the advanced paralegal training for 20 paralegals. Advocate Bagala Regmi is the responsible person for providing the training to the paralegals.
The advanced paralegal training is provided basically for making the trainees sustain economically. This training basically holds the subject matter of women empowerment, public speaking, Nepalese legal System, Nepalese Court Procedure, National Women Commission Jurisdiction, National Human Right Committee Activities, Women Rights, Gender Rights, Equality and Equity, Paralegal Code of Conduct, District and Appellate Court Jurisdiction and Court Act and Regulation and the Women Based crime related Law. This training is given to the ones receiving the certificate which takes place for 15 days. Through this training the trainees are qualified to give support to the victims in the court itself.
The paralegals’ just receiving the paralegal certificate was not just enough. Just working in the police stations was not enough to support the victims, as the victims were found unaware about the legal procedures in the court, so for the process of assisting the victims in the court as the victims were found uncomfortable and nervous regarding the court issues. If such situation arises the case of the victim in court gets a little weak and difficult to handle as well. To encourage and support the victim, the paralegals, after going to the court, are equipped with the information and general idea about the civil law as well as practice the learned materials in the court as well.
The paralegals contact the court personnel, the Judge and the private as well as the government lawyers, and can share their difficulties and solve their queries by which they can get practically involved in the court procedure the maximum number of victims can get the required legal aid and service.
The paralegals earn a little sum of money by working in the police station and now through the court the paralegals can get another sum of money by which they can get adequate sum of money for their livelihood and can also work as a junior lawyer in the court.
We received a very less support than expected; even then we carried out the mentioned work even though various difficulties came across and also carried out advancing the paralegals. We can even work better and achieve more than this even if you provide us your little support. So, support whole heartedly so that from your little support the paralegals can make their life worthwhile. Expecting that you would provide us with the required support.
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