Manjot Cheema

Manjot Cheema YLIP Intern

The United Nations Children’s Fund, Hanoi, Vietnam

I was assigned to work with the Child Protection and Social, Policy and Governance Programs at UNICEF Vietnam. I was actively involved in UNICEF’s advocacy efforts to ensure that Vietnamese policies and legislation adequately consider and incorporate protection of children’s rights. Over the course of my internship I was involved in advocacy work on laws relating to tourism, legal aid, social assistance, commercial sexual exploitation of children and ethnic minorities. As the Law on Tourism was being amended by the National Assembly of Vietnam, I assisted in the development of a policy brief which outline international children’s rights standards to protect children, especially from commercial sexual exploitation. I also had the opportunity to attend various workshops and seminars to discuss children’s rights in respect of these issues with members of civil society and government officials. Most notably, I supported the Vietnam Lawyers Association to create a pilot Legal Aid for Children model to be implemented in two cities.

Having worked in litigation previously, this was a great opportunity to obtain exposure to legal and policy issues impacting a larger subset of individuals.

On a personal level, living in Vietnam has been an amazing experience. I’ve gone trekking in the mountains, cycling in the rice fields and sleeping in caves. I also had the opportunity to volunteer at the Hanoi Law University and teach Legal English, which enabled me to give back to the amazing community in which I lived. I have forged amazing friendships with colleagues working with the UN in Hanoi and can’t thank the CBA enough for this amazing life changing experience.