BABSEACLE Expands Its Fund-Raising & Awareness-Raising Event by Adding the 1st Access to Justice Public Interest Fair to the 3rd Annual Trio for Justice

By Dinah Chung, Thailand

BABSEACLE held its first annual Access to Justice Public Interest Fair on November 12, 2011, and it was a tremendous success.  The goal was to host an event where organizations and law faculties in the Southeast Asia area could come together to promote their work and network with other organizations and members of the community.  There is an amazing number of organizations and law universities in the area, with clinical and community legal education (CLE) programs working to provide greater access to justice to the societies they serve, whether it be through access to legal education and support, sustainable farming developmental programs, higher educational programs, and much more. In Chiang Mai alone, there are a large number of organizations and law faculties passionately working towards a similar goal.  Holding such an event for organizations and law faculties working not only in Chiang Mai, but throughout the region, promotes solidarity, growth and empowerment within the community.

Although our BABSEACLE had not held an event like this before, we were very enthusiastic about organizing it.  Based on our previous partnership with Kantary Hills hotel, we sought out their sponsorship first, and they immediately jumped on board, providing us a great venue to hold the Fair, free of charge!  We then got in touch with all our partner organizations and law faculties with CLE programs, as well as many other organizations in the area we had not worked with before.  The word got out and soon many organizations were getting in touch with us to take a part in the Fair.  Because of its “first ever” nature, we weren’t sure how the event would turn out, so we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Kicking off the first annual Fair, there were 21 organizations and universities set up with informational booths for the event, and over 50 people visited from the public.  Organizations were given table space and three hours to speak with people about their organization, fundraise, and share informational material with people interested in learning more.  Overall, many were excited simply to have an event of this kind held in Chiang Mai, whereas others were able to form partnerships, and others got the word out about the mission of their organization or CLE program to the public.   Above all, everyone expressed a desire for this event to continue and grow, not only next year, but as the years go on.

Our BABSEACLE team worked hard to ensure the success of the event.  Everyone played a crucial role, from reserving the venue to ordering cakes from the Women’s Prison, to running the registration table, all with incredibly bright smiles.  Nothing can be done by one person alone and our BABSEACLE staff really came together to work as a team.

In the future, we hope to see a day-long event with organizations coming from all over the Southeast Asia region; on-going panels with speakers on different access to justice topics; and a greater number of people from the public getting involved.   Thank you to everyone who was part of the 1st Annual Access to Justice Public Interest Fair – here’s looking forward to 2012!