Mariam Awan

Mariam Awan YLIP Intern


During my time with the LRC, the office was involved in cases involving land claims, hate speech, sexual assault, the right to peaceful protest, and mining law. Despite this diversity of work, the Grahamstown office focuses on the right to basic education enshrined in the South African Constitution. To this end, it represents parents, school governing bodies and communities to provide adequate facilities, learning materials, and student-staff ratios.

I spent most of my time here carrying out legal research, interviewing clients, and drafting demand letters and court documents. Clients from all walks of life arrive at the LRC with unique experiences and life stories. At times someone from the office has to sit in as a translator because a client is more comfortable speaking in Xhosa or Afrikaans. 

The office is warm, animated and tightknit. Interns are welcomed and feel part of the fabric of the organization in no time, and I have spent most of my time outside work exploring the Eastern Cape with my co-workers and fellow interns. Driving back into Grahamstown from daytrips and weekend trips feels a lot like coming home. 

I have grown in surprising ways during this internship and I am grateful to the people I have met and learned from during my time here. This has been a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in a foreign culture and appreciate the history, geography, and politics of South Africa. I know the lessons learned during this internship will follow me for the rest of my life.