International children's organizations?
March 23, 2011 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Which organized international child welfare/protection/rights agencies could use a volunteer lawyer?

I'm a lawyer who wants to volunteer overseas (outside N. America) in areas of law related to children. There is so much out there and so many different organizations of varying quality. Has anyone had experience doing this and can steer me towards some legit organizations? Places of interest would be Africa, SE Asia, India, but really, anywhere if the organization is one that is well run or really in need of assistance.
posted by grak88 to Law & Government (6 answers total)
 
Best answer: International Justice Mission has field internships for lawyers, and is also looking for those offering pro bono work overseas. They are a religious organization, but I've seen them at conferences a few times, and wasn't creeped out.
posted by hasna at 8:25 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Defence for Children International provides legal services to both the Israeli and Palestinian communities but if you want to actually represent clients, you'll need Hebrew and/or Arabic.

How about death row cases in the common law, English speaking commonwealth countries? Reprieve, headed up by Clive Stafford Smith might be able to use you.
posted by dmt at 8:54 PM on March 23, 2011


Response by poster: Death row sounds interesting too. Have you done work with reprieve?
posted by grak88 at 9:49 PM on March 23, 2011


Asylum Access is an excellent organization that helps refugees with legal assistance. Refugees, some of whom are children, are an incredibly vulnerable population. Plus they are looking for legal advocates for at least six months in Tanzania, Ecuador, and Thailand. (Tanzania! Ecuador! Thailand!)

And for whatever it's worth: I have direct experience with this organization, as one of their staff members is a friend of mine, and, when I lived overseas, I knew a couple of refugees who were assisted in applying for refugee status by this organization.

Send me a note if you want more info.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:36 PM on March 23, 2011


I have worked in a policy, rather than legal, context with Reprieve. They are about as reputable as they come and Stafford-Smith is a hugely inspiring if somewhat controversial figurehead.

There’s lots of info on their website (US site). I was told - but am not 100% certain - that the organisation has been so successful that Louisiana stopped recognising foreign lawyers’ qualifications. There is an AP report here that doesn’t mention the organisation but a stint working voluntarily against death row cases with Reprieve is de rigueur among progressive English lawyers.

I recall that they also do work in the Caribbean with former British colonies which retain the death penalty. This would fulfil your desire to actually work abroad, doing some tangible good and avoiding the language barrier which is a real issue in terms of this kind of work.
posted by dmt at 7:47 AM on March 24, 2011


I have a number of friends who either have in the past or now currently are with IJM (I am friends with their Rwanda Country Director if you'd like me to get you in touch). Generally I think they are a great organization, but you said this:

anywhere if the organization is one that is well run or really in need of assistance

Anywhere you go in the international humanitarian sector, you're going to find orgs in constant and drastic needs of assistance. I can't say the same thing applies to "well run." The whole nature of a qualified professional deciding to contribute their skills and experience is to try to enhance how well run things can be. Its not easy and most don't last long.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:11 AM on March 31, 2011


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