The village of Newland borders sugarcane plantations just outside the town of Moshi, and this is one area that Immaculata Mwigane, a paralegal, also serves providing legal aid and education to women, men and even children.
After picking her up by the roadside, where she was waiting for us, she told us many interesting, real-life stories about the area as well as about Paralegal Children’s Club, an initiative she spearheaded to help children understand their rights early and inspire them to become better citizens in future.
“I’m very passionate about children, and I made a decision to work with them because there are certain crucial aspects of child development that parents around here aren’t paying attention to, so I figured out that, I had to start taking action,” she told us.
Mwigane also described how readily-accessible justice has changed the community allowing people of all walks of life to understand their rights and refuse to see them being trampled upon.
She said that, through the Access to Justice Program that LSF implements around the country, the residents of Newland many of whom engage in small scale agriculture or work in the sugar factory and nearby plantations have somewhere to run to for help and legal awareness.
“People around here work hard to beat poverty and these services are a necessary element of that effort,” she said.
In extending legal education, she and her colleagues also reach out to local women’s groups and after speaking on women’s and children’s rights to one of these groups, Daines Joseph, a member, approached Mwigane and narrated her story desperate for help.
Daines repeated the story to us, “I’m a married mother of four children. We lived a very normal life pretty much like any other family and we were one very happy, close family, however, my husband’s deportment took a drastic turn and he began to abdicate his family responsibilities and even went so far as to subject me to physical abuse. I soon learnt that he was maintaining an extra-marital affair and that, he had purchased a house, where he had put up his lover, while we lived in a rented house”.