Kendra Morris

Kendra Morris YLIP Intern


In my time with LHR Pretoria, I worked with the RMRP and periodically the Strategic Litigation Unit (SLU).  Straddling two projects generally means a diverse workload, and that was certainly the case here. Between the two, I worked on everything from daily clinic tasks like client intakes and letter writing, to drafting litigation documents, through helping out with developing tools for better assessing client claims.

The RMRP in Pretoria often faces significant demand for its resources, because the biggest Refugee Reception Office in the country (Desmond Tutu RRO) is just down the street. Signing on to this project means showing up to work and being ready for something new almost every day. Street protests, water shedding, clients in very difficult circumstances, engaging community leaders, reaching out to fellow NGOs to develop partnerships, and getting research done in a dynamic office are all part of the gig. 

Working with LHR gave me the opportunity to see first-hand what a human rights NGO accomplishes at ground-level. Just as one example, many countries are reconsidering their refugee laws. Changes to legal regimes can leave literally millions of vulnerable persons displaced and without a voice unless projects like the RMRP step in and bring human rights concerns to the doorstep of law makers.

Being witness to the LHR’s dynamic work allowed me to observe and support activism in multiple dimensions. Just showing up to work with a specialised skill counts as activism in this field, but so does clearing the paperwork that legalizes rallies, approaching the court for bail on behalf of those people in the streets, and holding state representatives accountable to their mandates. Overall the experience allowed me to be involved in real legal work, a fast-paced office, analysis and problem-solving, and a dose of real-world activism.