PARALEGAL TRAINING AND PARALEGAL COMMUNITY CENTRES

AGHS began its foothold in the community over 28 years ago and administers 15 paralegal community centres in Lahore and Kasur. These centres serve as focal points for providing human rights based assistance to community women. The community centres bridge the state-citizen gap by assisting women in acquiring access to basic documentation including national identity card and voter registration. Some of the paralegal supervisors have even served as Presiding Officers during elections; actively reporting violations especially those concerning women voters. AGHS also administers an intensive annual paralegal program and to date it has trained over 3000 community women and men.

WHY PARALEGAL TRAINING?

Paralegal Trainees are valuable sources of first hand information regarding the position of women in Pakistan. Paralegal training empowers women and builds their capacity to be effective members of civil society. A strong bond between women of varying social and economic background is important in prioritizing women’s issues.

AGHS conducts training on the law and international human rights standards, particularly in the areas of women and children’s rights. The training of women paralegal has created a network of activists at the grass-root level and raised awareness of women around focal persons trained by AGHS.

THE PARALEGAL TRAINING PROGRAMME

This program is designed to raise awareness for a wide range of women in our society. A woman belonging to any age group, a housewife or a student, a worker or a councilor can take part in it. This training program helps women to politically empower women and also assist in analyzing and assessing a situation. With the aid of this training program, a woman not only gets aware of her rights but also gets motivated to raise her voice on the issues that concerns her. At the end of the program certificates are issued to all successful trainees.

Robina Shaheen

Head of the Department for Prisons and a Woman Protection Officer at AGHS. She is an Ambassador for the Violence Against Women Centre in Multan. She is conducting a paralegal training session.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

  • Impart awareness regarding legal rights of women and basic human rights;
  • Provide free legal aid to women and children;
  • Participation in press conferences, seminars and social actions; and
  • Build pressure groups of women.

PARALEGAL COMMUNITY CENTRES

AGHS currently maintains 15 Community Centres at different locations, which serve as focal points for distribution of information material, orientation/mobilisation of community women around human rights issues, mediation for resolution of local disputes and steps to promote inter-faith harmony. They provide them regular forums to discuss issues of local and national interest. The Paralegal Community Centres also serve as referral points between the communities and AGHS for women requiring legal advice and assistance. Grassroots level orientation consisting of short exposures to legal literacy is provided to women and girls through the Paralegal Community Centres each year.

Concepts of inter-faith dialogue, removal of religious intolerance, peace building and conflict resolution are woven through all training and community interaction activities. Orientation is provided on the importance of political participation particularly at the local level, and especially for women. Guidance is also provided on the electoral process.