JVI and its partners are building a legal aid model designed to secure access to justice for the poor living in India’s urban slums. These urban communities are often denied access to sanitation, clean water, education, basic health services, and decent housing. Though Indian laws exist to help people meet these basic needs, families living in slums often cannot access these services due to lack of knowledge, caste-based discrimination, corruption, bureaucracy and other problems.
Recognizing the need for advocacy support to help these families, JVI has partnered with Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) to develop and disseminate Advocacy Manuals to help poor families secure their rights to these basic entitlements in Mumbai and Chennai. The manuals are being produced in two versions, one for families and local justice organization leaders and a second for use by pro bono lawyers in India.
JVI volunteer lawyers and law students have played a key role in producing the Advocacy Manuals, investing hours of time to research the legal basis for various entitlements. The volunteers who worked on this project included: Naomi Goodno (Professor of Law at Pepperdine University), AnnieLawson (law student), Kristin Blalock (law student), Hillary Mason (law student), Bethany Estrada (law student), Chae Kim (professional), Ed Sohn (lawyer), Jeanny Lee (lawyer) and Jamie Carroll (lawyer).
The goal is to use the manuals in JVI’s growing pro bono legal aid programs in India. “The quality of the work done by these volunteers was excellent and the work was completed in timely manner,” said Jeffrey Pankratz, President and CEO of JVI. “The manuals and advocacy trainings will go a long way in helping JVI work with partners to secure access to justice for men, women, and children suffering in the slums of India’s mega-cities like Mumbai , Delhi and Chennai.”