“From that point onwards, every farming villager was allocated a portion for which they pay a royalty of just Sh.10,000 a year, money that goes into communal development initiatives including the building of a new village office. Crucially, we now harvest an average of 20 rice bags per portion, which sell for up to Sh.200,000 each, thus enabling us to not only provide for our families, but also have sufficient money for our children’s school fees,” he calls.
This collective approach spearheaded by paralegals is commended by Stahimili Ngongi, the local social development officer, who in addition to tracing her involvement in the efforts to return the land into the hands of the villagers points to the constructive and tireless legal awareness work the paralegals have been engaged in over the years.
“If you examine the statistics from seven years ago when I started work here, you will notice a significant decline in domestic cases, where from five cases a week, we now receive about two in a month. This is attributed to the widespread empowerment they impart on our community on a regular basis that sheds light on our social and economic rights;
“Perceptions of equality have also changed drastically, if today were a working day you would have seen men working alongside women here, something that was never easily possible a few years ago,” she explains.
On-going legal aid and education services around the country that have been more robust since LSF initiated its program that provides access to justice to everyday people, who normally cannot afford such services have uplifted many communities both socially and economically.
The opportunities that now are accessible to the residents of Lundo provide them with a more solid foundation upon which they will be able to confront poverty head-on, and crucially transform their fortunes. This speaks loudly to the vital role that paralegals play in the lives of ordinary people, giving them a real chance at a better future for them and their families.
“We have traditionally worked closely with our community and local leadership, and a case like this one is the fruit of everyone’s sweat. The fact that, our services are free means more people can access them and our commitment to increasing legal awareness remains steadfast, because we see the remarkable impact of this noble work,” concludes Ngonyani.