By Naomi Yakawich
Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Brazil and CONSEG, the Community Committee for neighborhood security, have partnered to host AJUDE (Assistência Jurídica de Desenvolvimento e Educação), a program providing ongoing legal assistance for the poor.
An AJUDE partner, EDH (School of Human Rights) engages the volunteer services of its professionals and students from various post-graduation programs to provide pro-bono legal assistance to vulnerable members of several neighborhoods of Goiânia.
First piloted in 2016, the AJUDE program not only delivers assistance in areas like consumer protection, retirement, and inventory and labor issues, but also allows members of the community to feel a sense of dignity and respect while receiving help. One elderly man, upon finally receiving his retirement with the aid of AJUDE, left his session singing and dancing.
As seen through the wide partnership of AJUDE—including the Civil Police of the State of Goiás, which issued identification cards to citizens seeking help through AJUDE—both volunteers and participants in the legal assistance program are proud to serve each other and their communities to uphold and honor the rights of every citizen.
Brenda Antunes de Paula, a passionate volunteer for AJUDE, obtained her post-graduate degree in Civil Law at the Human Rights School EDH with an emphasis on Family law. She shared her initial struggle in the workforce, describing the focus on making money, which left her feeling limited in her personal and professional life. “The suggestion that only financial success could justify my law degree education was not enough motivation for me to pursue this profession,” said Brenda.
When Brenda was approached by her professors to join the AJUDE program, she jumped at the opportunity. “When we students have the opportunity to combine theoretical study with practice, like we have with AJUDE… we leave not only as a better student, but also as a better human being than when we arrived,” she said. Volunteers like Brenda have described the program as an opportunity to become more human, empathic and sensitive to the needs of the people within their greater society. Brenda shared, “I better understand the purpose and concept of the human family and realize that what moves me in this world is exactly the world of others.”
Reflecting on the experience of other volunteers and students, Brenda added, “If you are a student or have a profession that still gives you doubts because your hopes were stolen by the wickedness of the world, do not be demotivated; truly seek and find out what moves you in this world. And by doing so I assure you that you can move the world.”
AJUDE currently serves four vulnerable communities on a weekly basis and will expand the program with the partnership of the state and municipality agencies.