When I first engaged with NEXTGEN, I was a newly admitted advocate who was trying to maneuver the legal practice during a time when jobs were hard to come by. When they told me about their work and the populations they serve, I initially had a hard time understanding how my work as a lawyer would fit in. However, after engaging in sensitization and training sessions and getting to handle my first case, I have built my legal knowledge and skills by practicing in a relatively new area of law which I never thought I would be practicing in. I would encourage other young advocates and law firms to provide legal aid as a way of giving back to society. It is very fulfilling.
NEXTGEN has trained myself and the leadership of my organization as community paralegals. They have also been offering us on-the-job mentorship ad we have been able to learn skills necessary when offering client legal support. From the empowerment we have received, we were able to successfully register a Community Based Organization (CBO) and with support from the NEXTGEN team, we applied for our first grant in 2022 and we got it. We are now implementing the grant and have gotten the confidence to apply for more. We are grateful to them for always taking time to answer our questions and offer support whenever we need it.
As a sex worker, I have long believed that the law only works for those who can afford it. When I met the NEXTGEN Lawyers team, I had a criminal case that had remained unaddressed for more than 3 years. The NEXTGEN team took their time to listen to my issue and supported me throughout the entire court process by accompanying me to the police station, ensuring the perpetrator was arrested and charged in court and having an advocate present in court with me at all times. My case was resolved through mediation and I was able to get a public apology from the perpetrator who assaulted me in front of my children and he paid for treatment of injuries I incurred. Since then, my children now believe that the law can work for everyone, whether or not you have money. I am very grateful to the NEXTGEN team.
When NEXTGEN Lawyers first expressed interest in working with us, we were slightly anxious and sceptical due to our past negative experiences with working with other mainstream legal organizations. However, 5 years down the line, partnering with NEXTGEN Lawyers is the best decision we made for ourselves as an organization and the communities we serve. NEXTGEN has supported us by capacity building and mentoring our community paralegals, empowering us on community-based and community-led research, engaging us in participatory documentation of community-based legal services and providing legal representation to the organization and our clients. We look forward to doing even more with NEXTGEN in the coming future.