Internship Experience @ Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children, Surat [NGO]: Treated me as one of their own

NAME, COLLEGE & YEAR OF STUDY

Rohan Merchant

Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar

Batch: 2015-2020

DURATION OF THE INTERNSHIP

18th November 2015 – 18th December 2015

BACKGROUND

As the first semester break of law school approached, the question of whether or not to intern loomed on everyone’s head. I for one just wished to go home, eat good food and sleep. But with so much time on hand (2 months), it seemed wiser to intern as the most of my batch mates were planning to do.

The college had recommended interning in an NGO for the first year and whilst I was not too keen on it, I approached the State Head of PCVC, Gujarat through a family friend and he advised me to intern at their Surat branch which dealt with child rights. Thus I reluctantly began my first internship.

HOW TO APPLY

I applied by contacting Mr. Chandrashekhar Deshmukh, the State Head of PCVC in Gujarat.

After meeting him and conversing with him, I was suggested to intern at the Surat office. Then I visited their office and after meeting the coordinator Mr. Adhav, finalised the details of the internship.

ABOUT THE NGO

Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children (PCVC) is one of the various components of the NGO Pratham which is based in Mumbai and initially focused on education before expanding in further areas.

PCVC deals with child rights and the Surat Branch operates the national helpline for children set up by the government i.e. Childline in Surat and nearby areas in coordination with the police and government agencies.

WORK ENVIRONMENT

They operate out of quite a small office which has the basic necessities. 6-7 members work full time along with the coordinator and a counsellor. Interns come there for some time during the vacations.

All of them have to put in long hours and travel to far off areas when any case is reported. The work can be quite tiring.

I was given a great deal of freedom by them. Timings were mostly flexible and I worked from morning to late afternoon. This depended on the number of case visits or outreach programs scheduled for the day.

Everyone working there treated me as one of their own.

They gave me several bits of information about the system operates and readily took me along with them on field visits.

The atmosphere there was quite pleasant and after a while I enjoyed waking up early and going to the office. A lot of help was also given to me whenever I faced problems in my work.

MY TASKS

My work involved writing case reports for the organization. I was also involved in their outreach campaign during which I visited schools, police stations, health centres etc.

I went along with the team members to follow up on several cases involving child labour, missing children, custody etc.

As a result I was exposed to different areas with a shortage of basic facilities and also interacted with multiple people living there. One of the activities also was a study of the railway station which was a informative experience for me.

Also I was given the task of reading up on child related legislations and treaties for my own knowledge.

POSITIVES

1. Lots of field work and interaction with the public at large.

2. Gaining knowledge about the working of the organisation and the system relating to child rescue.

NEGATIVES

1. Not too organized.

2. Though I did not think of this as a negative but the work involved is not of a legal nature unlike organizations like state human rights corporations.

CONCLUSION

While I did not think at the outset of my internship that it would be helpful, it was indeed an enriching experience.

Working there helped me realise my social responsibility and gave me a different outlook towards life.

Living in the comfort of my home, I never realised the conditions people live in and the problems they face in life.

The internship helped me realise that while there is poverty, multiple steps can be taken to improve the situation.

Seeing the dedication and commitment of the other team members, I also introspected on how much I can contribute to society if I want to.

It also gave me a different perspective on life. I realised the roads near my house were a lot better than those in several areas which could barely be called roads. I stopped criticising and gained a respect for the things I possessed.

Overall despite not adding much to my legal knowledge it gave me a much profound sense of understanding and helped me realise the value of spreading knowledge.

This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.

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