As Coordinator of the Clinical Legal Education (CLE) programme, and a law lecturer, at Pasundan University, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, I am an educator, who provides the best for my students, and believes that a good education will produce a good future generation. Education and students should not be limited by space and time. Giving helpful information, through educational activities, is similar to giving light to those in darkness. Education is the gateway to a better life. Therefore, I dedicate my life, each and every day, to teach hundreds of students, different subjects, for many years. The CLE program has eliminated any boredom in this routine.
Being a part of the CLE program is a dream coming true, for me. As I have always wanted to help people fight for their rights, and I feel useful. Beforehand, my aspirations were limited, by my institution, because there were few resources, or contacts to acquire them. My passion has been to provide free legal assistance, counseling and legal education, for the poor and marginalized. I used to be a victim of bullying, so I understand how it feels to be treated unfairly and discredited, rejected and blamed, and I empathize with someone who desperately needs help, but is unable to access it, or is in the lowest position of their life, as a result of the actions of others. Finally, I am inspired and encouraged to work harder, by those who selflessly helped me access my rights, saved me from further pain and allowed me to become a better person.
I particularly welcome the Pro Bono Movement, as it helps people in need. My first involvement within the Movement was my livelihood within the campus environment. It then expanded widely, and reached more people and communities, who were from different backgrounds and affected by a lack of legal knowledge. Primarily, I have concentrated my efforts on high school students, juveniles, female prisoners, housewives and migrant workers. The topics and interactive teaching methods are adjusted to their needs and use simple language.
It turns out that my activities, since 2007, have been appreciated by my friends at Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEACLE). In 2014, I was invited to attend the 3rd Asia Pro Bono Conference, in Singapore, as a participant and speaker. There, I saw a lot of people doing good deeds, in providing legal aid with no strings attached, and it was an amazing experience. The Conference gave me the motivation to do even more.
In 2015, I was again invited to speak and participate, at the 4th Asia Pro Bono Conference, in Mandalay, Myanmar. I extended my session, regarding legal protection for Indonesian migrant workers, and proposed a plan and network to assist migrant workers, with teams from Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines. I also conveyed my experiences, in running street law clinics, at my college.
In 2016, the 5th Asia Pro Bono Conference was held in Bali, Indonesia, the host country, where and when I was invited, not only as a participant and speaker, but also as a Local Organizer. I was nervous that this event was attended by more than 320 delegates, from 30 countries, so I worked extra hard to do my job well and to cooperate with others. With responsibility came trust, in myself, to do my best. This was a big step in my life. Although Indonesian pro bono activities have been happening, for a long time, the movement was moving separately, but this last Conference permitted each pro bono participant to social network, which strengthened the concept of pro bono, and will ultimately help even more people, who are in need.
I feel like a cocoon that metamorphosed into a butterfly, spreading my wings, as a participant, then growing into a speaker, and finally, soaring into the sky as the local organizer of a global event. In this manner, a humble college teacher extended his work, from a local to an international level. I am proud to be an active part of the Asia (and Global) Pro Bono movement.
By Leni Widi Mulyani, Coordinator of Clinical Legal Education at Pasundan University, Bandung, Indonesia