I am Shinto Matthew Abraham, and I studied in NUALS Kochi. I am an IDIA Scholar, and I was also a volunteer with the IDIA Kerala Chapter. One of the core activities of the IDIA state chapters is to organise sensitisation sessions for students from underprivileged backgrounds. IDIA Kerala chapter organises sensitisation drives among school students in Kerala, about the role of law in daily life, legal education and a career in the legal field.
On 23rd October 2018, IDIA volunteer Amal Antony and I held a sensitization session on ‘Law as a Career’ at the Government Higher Secondary School for Girls, Venganoor, Thiruvananthapuram. We spoke to the students of Grades XI and XII who hailed from Vizhinjam, a rural coastal area of Kerala.
We wanted the sensitisation session to be interactive and fun. We started at 10 a.m. with an ice breaker. The students were asked to introspect about the career they wanted to pursue at the ages of 8, 12, and 16 years. A couple of students volunteered to speak about their choices and the reasons for the same. After the exercise, the students realised that there is diversity in their choices. They all wanted to pursue different careers, but they were influenced by their peers, teachers and others in the society. The message of the exercise was that diversity is natural and it is needed. It was well received by all the participants.
Next, we started with the first part of the sensitization session on the ‘Role of Law in Daily Life’. We again focused on making the session interactive and engaging. We asked the students to tell us about any instances of rules being applied in their daily lives. The students gave examples like school uniforms, traffic rules, etcetera. We then asked a follow-up question – ‘What is the need for these rules?’. The students participated enthusiastically, and the answers poured in. The reasons suggested by the students included the need for order, equality, peace, non-violence, etcetera. We pointed out that each of them had their own diverse personal reasons to view law as an important part of life.
The second part of the session focussed on ‘Law as a Career’. We used the question and answer format to keep the session interactive. The students pointed out various career options in the legal field, and then, we elaborated on each of them. At the end, we showed a presentation with the list of the various career options. The options that were discussed included litigation, judiciary, teaching, corporate jobs, bureaucracy, politics, working with NGOs, etcetera.
In the third part of the session, we gave an outline of the various law schools in India and the procedures for getting admission there. We focused on CLAT (Common Law Admission Test). The students were given a glimpse of the life at a law school by the volunteers.
In the final part of the session, we talked about IDIA and its role in making the legal field more diverse. We elaborated upon IDIA’s work which includes selection of trainees, training the selected students for law entrance examinations, providing mentorship, extending economic assistance for studying in a law school, arranging professional mentorships, giving assistance for internships, etcetera. I, being an IDIA scholar, spoke about my personal experience and explained how IDIA helped me achieve my dream.
Upon conclusion of the sensitisation session, we conducted a feedback/query session at the end. We addressed all the doubts and concerns of the students. The students gave an official vote of thanks and by 12:30 p.m., the sensitization session came to an end. The session was attended by more than 300 students and their teachers. The team was overwhelmed by the response from the students and looks forward to see some of them join us as trainees!