Indian Business Law Journal (IBLJ) recently spoke to two IDIA Scholars for its article ‘Lending a hand’, which talks about two philanthropic ventures – IDIA and SMART Eco-Park, both started by the members of the legal fraternity. As an exception, IBLJ has made the full article available without any registration here (though we encourage all of you to register. Registration is free!).
Nagababu, an IDIA Scholar who recently graduated from National Law University Odisha, decided to study law after meeting Prof. Shamnad Basheer. In the article, Nagababu says – “Now that I have a legal education I can do whatever I can to help my society”. Indeed, Nagababu started venturing on this path when he recently challenged the Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Services Rules, which did not provide for a blind person to write the qualifying exam. Nagababu’s fight against these discriminatory rules has gotten substantive media attention. Here are a few articles covering the issue – The Better India, LiveLaw, Bar&Bench, and Legally India. In the interview with IBLJ, Nagababu said, “The best part of IDIA is that they do not differentiate between me and other students … they treat everybody equally”. IBLJ wrote in its article that – “He [Nagababu] believes that the legal profession is generally “scared to offer opportunities” to people with problems with their vision. His wish is that this can be overcome so that that people like him can have an opportunity to show that they can work just as well as anyone else.”
IBLJ also spoke to Karthika, an IDIA Scholar currently studying at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Studies (NUJS), Kolkata, who has gotten a job offer at the prestigious law firm AZB & Partners in New Delhi. With the help of IDIA, she has beaten all odds. Karthika told IBLJ that she dreamt of being a lawyer since she was 12 years old, but gave up her aspirations due to lack of means. Through IDIA, she came to know about the National Law Universities, and started training for the law entrance examination. The rest, as they say, is history… Karthika talked about the diverse pool of scholars that IDIA caters to. She also spoke about her experience at her college. She said, “There is this class conflict and caste divide.” “How people make friends is based on their class.”
Myriad Ways of IDIA Scholars
IDIA Scholars have been causing quite a stir in media with their myriad talents ranging from dancing to poetry. IDIA Scholar Musharaf, currently studying in the first year at NUJS, participated in the Oppo Calcutta Times Fresh Face 2016 competition as a dance contestant, and won. Another IDIA Scholar at NUJS, Vinatoli Yeptho, performed her amazing slam poetry – Five Rules to Whomever It May Concern – a poetry on discrimination and objectification faced by women from North East, at a slam poetry event at NUJS. The video of her performance went viral and garnered a lot of media attention. It was applauded by the Indian Express, The Better India, the Eclectic NorthEast, and the Times of India among others.
IDIA Scholars have already started giving back to the society. Yogendra Yadav, an IDIA Scholar studying in fifth year at the NUSLR Ranchi, has been in the news for all the right reasons. YourStory told the inspiring story of Yogendra in an article titled ‘The Harder I Worked the Luckier I Got’. Yogendra was forced to give up his studies for financial reasons at the age of 7. However, he persevered and fought many barriers from being beaten up to running away from home, just so that he could get his education. We are extremely proud of our ‘anti-fragile’ scholar. He has time and again used his legal education to fight for his community, after facing obstacles like illegal imprisonment, and threats from powerful figures in that region.
IDIA State Chapters Leave a Mark
IDIA’s backbone is the 18 State Chapters spread across India, run by student volunteers from top law colleges. They sensitise and spread awareness about legal education, select and train the IDIA Trainees, and mentor IDIA Scholars. Some of our State Chapters have been garnering media’s attention for all the wonderful work they are doing.
CNN IBN spoke to IDIA Bihar chapter, and its trainees about their activities, and the vision of IDIA to help meritorious students from diverse backgrounds access legal education. The IDIA Bihar Chapter in run by the students from the Chanakya National Law University Patna. The IDIA Bihar Chapter conducts Sensitisations at the government schools in the state, select trainees using the IDIA National Aptitude Test (INAT), and then takes training classes for them in the college library. IDIA Trainees with the Bihar chapter said in the interview that they want to pursue law to help people who cannot access quality legal resources, and that they are confident they will crack CLAT. Watch the complete video here.
IDIA Odisha Chapter also caused waves after the student volunteers from NLUO Cuttack (NLUO) completed 5 sensitisations catering to diverse audience in Odisha. Their last sensitisation in Dompara district was the most successful. The team’s visit to Dampada College for sensitisation was covered widely by media. It was published in Odisha Diary (available here), Telegraph India (available here), and in Sambad, the largest circulated Odia daily in the state.
IDIA volunteers also visited the Naxalite prone areas of Chhattisgarh where they conducted sensitisations for the tribal youth. They discovered that the youth among the tribal communities hold the key to the future, and by giving them the right opportunities, whole communities could be transformed. More information about the Sensitisations in Chhattisgarh is available here. The Better India reported on the meeting of the volunteers with a commandant from the Indo-Tibet Border Police, Mr. Surinder Khatri, during the Senstisation trip. He is working with the local population to transform their future through sports and education. We hope to see more chapters reach the less accessible parts of India to spread awareness, and opportunity to pursue legal education.
We wish all the best to all IDIA State Chapters, and hope to keep hearing such success stories.
IDIA Events Receive Media Attention
IDIA organised many interesting events in 2016 in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to train our scholars, spread awareness and raise funds for our operations.
The year began with the Smart Start Work Experience Programme in February by the prestigious UK based law firm Allen & Overy in collaboration with IDIA. The Smart Start Experience Programme is an award winning work experience program by Allen & Overy and this was the first time that the program was brought to India. We are grateful to Allen & Overy for the wonderful opportunity given to IDIA Scholars to hone their professional skills, and to NLU Delhi for hosting the program. Live Law and Bar&Bench covered the launch of the program. A&O’s covered the programme here.
Next, we held two important events in Bangalore – the first training workshop organised by the IDIA Disability Access Program (IDAP) for IDIA Scholars with Disabilities (IDAP Workshop), and a CHAMPS Workshop along with a fund-raising dinner. The IDAP Workshop for IDIA Scholars with Disabilities caught a lot of media attention. Tavishi Budhiraja from Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India Private Limited (SPND) spoke to Thrilling News about the partnership between SPND and IDIA for the IDAP Workshop. The Bfirst Network also covered the IDAP Workshop. PocketNewsAlert also reported about the workshop that was held for 9 IDIA Scholars with disabilities. External resources persons who trained the IDIA Scholars included Mr. Mohith from Enable India, Mr. Amar Jain (Associate, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas) and Mr. Raul Bajaj (Consultant for IDAP, and Spicy IP Fellow 2016-17). Deccan Herald, Vijaya Karnataka and Prajavan also reported about IDAP Workshop.
The last event of the year was the IDIA Football League 2016 (IFL), a fundraising football tournament in Mumbai for law firms, and in-house legal teams. The IFL weekend came with the added bonus of the IDIA Awards Night, with Harsha Bhogle as the chief guest, on Saturday, 15th October. Bar&Bench, Lawyer Updater and Live Law reported about IFL. We hope to see you all there next year!
These are just some of the examples of IDIA reaching out through online and offline media. IDIA is committed to spreading awareness about the legal education. If you know any media houses that would be interested in the same, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.