While volunteering at a girl’s home in Kerala, India, I saw the effect of helping those who had been let down by different institutions. These failures happened for a myriad of reasons, including classism, lack of grassroots schemes from people in power due to them not understanding how to help these individuals who fell into the poverty line and otherwise go without a voice. Seeing this shortfall nurtured my interest to pursue an education in law at university. The primary reason for this was to understand more about the two main paradigms of thought.
Firstly, the way things run in a ‘prefect’ situation. How the law can help people who have been let down at a private or public level and secondly, an ‘imperfect’ situation, in what ways people have been failed at the stage of seeking such help, which became an interest of mine since my volunteering experience. Studying law has allowed me to look at the first paradigm of thought. Reading statutes and case law has deepened my understanding of this.
I had a fantastic introduction to the second paradigm of thought when studying Law, Justice and Society in my first year. The examples in this module had clear parallels to the experience and understanding I gained when volunteering at the girl’s home. The module predominantly focused on where the law fails individuals and why this is happening. One of the cornerstone figures we studied in the module was Kimberlé Crenshaw, who gave a holistic understanding of the intersectionality of law (people coming to the law at a crossroad due to the system being narrow in its field of who it can help). Those who have more than one identity that falls outside the narrow scope of who the law is designed to help are in many instances without suitable aid from the law. The identities of those in the girls home that fell into such a crossroad include them being poor and living in a remote location with a lack of resources.
Following this preface into the failures of the law, I hope to develop my understanding further. Although my understanding from the course has so far been mainly theoretical, I have seen clear real-life examples of these issues I am keen to consider solutions to see how such problems can be tackled- which is no doubt complex and by no means a one size fits all situation. Nonetheless, I remain determined.