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Srishti Arora, a second-year law student from UPES, Dehradun shares her internship experience at RLEK Dehradun (Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. It was amazing to learn how RLEK’s initiatives led to the promulgation of Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1976; Environment Protection Act, 1986; and Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
Name of the Organization and Address
RLEK Dehradun – Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra located at 68/1, RLEK Building, Suryalok Colony Rajpur Road, Dehradun – 248001, Uttarakhand – India.
Duration of the internship
2nd July 2018 – 31st July 2018
How big was the office? Team strength?
The office is a simple two-storey building that has multiple small offices, a library, an auditorium and accommodation for students. The interns are supposed to report at the same office every day, five days a week which can be at times six days a week depending on the amount of work that week.
There are around ten full-time employees along with the Chairperson and founder Mr Avdhash Kaushal who work on different projects assisted by the interns. The intern’s strength was twenty-five and they were all from different law colleges around the country.
Application procedure: Internship contact details
For applying in RLEK, one has to send the CV with the internship preference period at email id: [email protected]. Bonafide certificate from your college is a must which has to be submitted on the first day of the internship. One should apply at least three months in advance otherwise it will be difficult to get the internship as a lot of students applies for it.
Accommodation: how, where, how was it?
I am from Dehradun itself, so accommodation was not an issue for me. But, RLEK has rooms available for interns at a sharing basis within the office premises at decent prices. It also has a mess which serves simple food. It is a good option if one does not want to commute every day from a distance but at the same time, the accommodation rules can be strict.
First impression: The first day and formalities
On my first day, I was asked to reach the office by 10:30 a.m. The office is located on Rajpur road which is in the main city. The interns were asked to fill a form and submit it along with the bonafide certificate, passport size photograph and identity proof. Then we were introduced to the working of the NGO, its different bodies and their objectives. The chairperson Mr. Avdhash Kaushal addressed all the interns and acquainted them with the history of the NGO and its current role in the society.
From 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM interns were supposed to be at the office and research about the cases that the NGO has fought. The office has a well-stocked library. Interns were stationed at a table for general research/reading type of tasks. The limestone quarries case fought by RLEK was the first environment case in the country to be heard by the Supreme Court. The interns were asked to choose a project topic for the entire internship period and I chose ‘Rights of Forest Dwellers’.
The NGO has different projects going on at different times. We were supposed to work on a project by the Ministry of Minority Affairs which comprised of visits to rural areas and educating minority women. Different topics were assigned to students which concerned the rights and awareness among the rural women and my topic was ‘Right to Information’. I and my team prepared a presentation and charts for a better understanding of the topic and then presented it to the minority women in a rural area.
The NGO has adopted certain schools in the forest area. We were taken to visit the forest dwellers and those schools and also taught students there for a day. We learnt about their rights and struggle to be at par with the society and receive equal treatment by the Government. It was so despairing to see the condition of forest dwellers and it will be a long time till they can be brought at par with the rest of the society.
Work environment, people
The work environment was really positive and friendly. Every intern and the members of the NGO were always available for help and open for discussions. The interns were all from different college/ universities so everyone was quite knowledgeable and contributed to the overall internship experience and made it worthwhile.
Best things about the internship?
The people in the NGO were very helpful. They take excessive interest in your projects/tasks and make sure that you understand the task assigned completely. They assisted the interns in every possible way and made sure that we had a great learning experience. The best thing was that we got to work at the ground level and interact with the people for whose rights the NGO was working. It was a month full of different activities and practical learning.
What did you do to chill? Co-interns, colleagues
There were a lot of days when we did not have much work to do, so the interns got enough time to get together. All the interns were very interactive and were from diverse backgrounds contributed to each other’s knowledge. Mussoorie, a hill station is just an hour’s drive from the office so whoever is willing to explore the mountains, it’s a great option. Dehradun has much to offer for nature enthusiasts.
It was an incredible experience altogether, starting from the first day of the internship until the very end. RLEK is a great example for people who actually want to bring a change in society, if you are determined then nothing can stop you. It was amazing to learn how RLEK’s initiatives led to the promulgation of Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1976; Environment Protection Act, 1986; and Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.