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Ritoban Maitra, a first year student at Symbiosis Law School, Symbiosis International University, Pune, did a month-long online internship with us recently. His project was a present day assessment of the right to education and related opportunities for disabled kids in India with respect to policy and legislation available in 2020. Here’s what he has to say about the experience.

Ritoban Maitra did a legal internship at LRF from 20 May–20 June 2020

Searching for an internship as a first year law student is very tricky business, especially, if you are as clueless as I was (I still am). Needless to say, the Covid-19 outbreak made it doubly hard to actually find one. Being absolutely honest, I hardly knew what I could possibly offer to a professional organisation since there’s so very little that I have learnt about the law or working with organisations in general. Regardless, I bit the bullet and mailed the Latika Roy Foundation through a mutual acquaintance, talking about what I believed in: education for all and how their work with people with disabilities aligns with my beliefs, and asking for an opportunity to work since it is truly a cause worth supporting.
I received a warm email from the executive director of the Latika Roy Foundation and was asked to appear for what I assumed would be a meeting with Sumita ma’am and Rizwan sir about how I could work for the organisation and the responsibilities that would entail.

It was a pleasant surprise when it turned out to be a discussion on how I wished to contribute. The conversation was open and welcoming and I found myself talking about my interest in research, learning how to write papers and analysing legal policy. Rizwan sir instantly came up with the idea of looking into the state legislation on education of children with disabilities and I agreed. He gave me a lead on resources that I would need to read before writing and spoke of the complications that could arise due to the fact that this article would be written during a lockdown. We exchanged phone numbers for ease in communication and when he said that I could message anytime with any problems I had, he meant it! I have sent him texts multiple times over various issues that arose throughout this experience and I had my queries dealt with in minutes. We video-called frequently, discussing how the project could be developed, new perspectives that could be added and when I wanted to increase the scale of the project half-way into the internship and therefore, needed an extension, he gave me the nod as soon as we had finished discussing it.

Being from Kolkata, after the cyclone Amphan hit, I found mails and messages from Rizwan sir, asking after me and I felt the empathy that they have for their cause was not merely professional, it flowed over to all parts of their lives – something I’d learn with time.

You can often feel disconnected from the cause for which you are working – especially if you have never been there. The amount of support and encouragement I received, however, proved the previous sentence invalid and I only regret the fact that I could not be physically present at the organisation is simply because it would give me so much more time to interact and learn from these accomplished professionals.

I hope that my article can contribute to their exemplary cause.

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