Posted: 5 January 2015
Lawyers of Hope (LoH) support student ministries in Rwanda's law faculties, across four universities. Two are based in Kigali, one in Gisenyi and another in Butare. These groups are made up of student members of LoH and their active members range from 35 to 75 across each faculty. These groups aim to meet on a monthly basis for fellowship, prayer, studying the Word of God and mutual encouragement.
Alongside their meetings, they also take part in Legal Aid Clinics. These Clinics exist to provide legal advice to clients who do not have the means to pay legal fees. Our student members volunteer in the village communities surrounding their university. They receive clients and their cases out in the community where they work alongside Community Leaders or Leaders of Legal Aid Clinics. The nature of the cases they receive varies and includes both criminal and civil matters. Criminal Cases are often related to Gender Based Violence and Civil Cases typically centre on contracts of trust between villagers involving loans or on family disputes involving land rights.
On receiving these cases, the students will then take notes and further details of the facts. They then spend time together to discuss their advice and ways to progress the cases. This might involve accompanying a victim of GBV to the police station to support their reporting of the facts to the police. For Civil matters, our students have drafted Court Submissions to issue a case in court. For more complex cases, students will call the LoH office, who can then direct them to one of our advocates or university lecturers, who can follow up and provide further technical legal advice.
Despite their hard work and determination, there are obstacles facing our student ministries for which we would value your prayers:
Naturally, as students, most of their time is spent studying legal theory! But training is important to help prepare our student members for this practical work in Legal Aid Clinics. Please pray for us as weseek to find ways and capacity to provide training workshops.
Our students are much in demand and have reported being overwhelmed by a high volume of cases! Pray for more volunteers and wisdom in deciding which cases to prioritise and take forward. At a more basic level, both communication costs and a lack of stationery are an issue and so please pray for provision of these essentials, which supports the work on the ground for our members.