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Niresha Umaichelvam

Niresha Umaichelvam

During her studies on the LLB at City Law School, Niresha undertook pro bono work at the Women's Legal Centre (WLC) in Cape Town

SJS Solicitors

Which pro bono project did you work on?

During my 2nd year of the LLB course, I undertook a 5 week internship at the Women's Legal Centre (WLC) in Cape Town, South Africa. It was an incredible opportunity and enhanced my passion to pursue human rights in the future.

What did you have to do?

Over the course of my internship, I closely shadowed the attorneys and saw how passionate and committed they were to strive for equality for women who were denied their rights. I helped the attorneys with research into many different projects including a research project into Harmful Cultural Practices such as FGM and breast ironing.

Did you take part in any pro bono activity before coming to The City Law School?

Prior to coming to City, I did some work experience at local firms while at school, but my internship at WLC was my first piece of pro bono work.

Did you find the pro bono experiences beneficial to your studies?

I found the experience highly beneficial to my studies, as I decided to base my dissertation for my 3rd year electives on research I conducted at WLC, and wrote about domestic violence in South Africa and the need for more support from the government.  My time at WLC also made me realise how important human rights are to me, and has made me even more passionate to pursue this field.

What do you think are the benefits of taking part in pro bono activities/projects?

Taking part in Pro Bono projects are beneficial; not only does it complement your studies, but it also enhances your skills and makes you grow as a person.  My time at WLC left me as a more independent individual and made me realise what an impact education has, and how it can change the lives of those who are deprived and silenced of their rights.

Do you have any advice or tips for new students who will take part in pro bono projects in the future?

My advice to students who want to take part in Pro Bono activities is to put yourself out there and to push yourself - by standing out and having faith in yourself, you not only can achieve a lot but you can also really help benefit others in need. Also, enjoy the good you are doing - because you really are making an impact.