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[email protected] HRLN (Human Rights Law Network), Kolkata

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By Swarnali Chanda, GNLU

It was in my 2nd semester when I hardly knew anything about fixing internships in good places.

After getting to know about this NGO called HRLN (Human Rights Law Network) from my fellow batch mates who had already worked there, I wrote a small write up(this was a requirement for online application to the NGO) and the very next day there was a confirmation mail from them.

On a fine evening on May 2009, I went to see the location of the office and found out that most of the people in the office were less than 30 years of age and they are quite warm and welcoming. I was asked to join office the next day.

In the beginning there was not much work that I was given other then drafting petitions. But within a span of 2-3 days I saw myself talking to everyone of them in the office as if they were my friends.

Initially I was asked to see client counselling but as I sat with the counsellor and clients, even I was addressed sometimes and asked for suggestions by the clients. It made me feel like an actual counsellor.

Within a week, I with the help of my co-internees successfully drafted a writ petition to be filed in the High Court of Calcutta. I was once asked to be present in the Trial Court and ask for adjournment of a case. That was my first direct interaction with the judge in an actual court room.

It obviously was highly exciting and gave me immense pleasure. I interacted with clients directly and suggested them to overcome real life difficulties.

I was also sent to another NGO which aimed at helping AIDS victims to collect some required information once. It has been more than a year now, but I still remember the warm treatment we got in that NGO as well.

It was fun going to the HRLN office every day. Even if I was given clerical work sometimes, I felt so connected to the organization that I even enjoyed doing those. I along with my co-internees from other law schools used to enjoy our lunch break together. Sometimes that also included the employees.

Suddenly I found out that there were quite a few names which were added to the list of my friends. Having a chatting session with all the employees and co-internees at the end of the day was a regular practice which we all enjoyed very much.

My internship with the HRLN was for just one month i.e. May 2009. But it dragged me again in December 2009 when I had no internship at hand. I went there just to meet the people I worked with but I ended up asking them allowing me to work with them once again.

This time it was without the incentive of any certificate. I can feel the bond with HRLN, Kolkata and its employees till today. It was the most fabulous internship experiences I have ever had.

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