First Stop Pretoria – Human Rights Development Initiative


First meeting of the Namibian pre-study was with director Asha Ramgobin and her team at Human Rights Development Initiative (HRDI) in Pretoria, South Africa. HRDI have built and trained lawyers at 16 legal aid clinics at universities around Africa, offering free legal services to people who can’t afford it.

HRDI are closing down, after having accomplished what they set out to do. But they will gladly share their network with our project, and assist with legal advice on international law, should that be needed.

We were looking into setting up a referral system and wanted contact with organizations who might be willing to assist, free of charge, clients that we meet in the project.

Asha Ramgobin especially pointed to the legal aid clinic at the University of Windhoek, former HRDI student Frans Johannes Anton who had formed a legal aid trust in Namibia, and to LAC (Legal Aid Center) whom we already were in touch with.

In 2006 and 2007, Fredrik trained their lawyers in listening skills as well as gender and diversity issues. That experience made me see the power in training people working with people in developing countries in constructive listening. A comment made by Apollinaire from Rwanda: “We really need this in Rwanda!” led me to found Listeners Without Borders.

Asha Ramgobin and HRDI are happy to give us access to their network, both in Namibia and to children’s rights experts in Africa. She also advised us to make contact with Frans Johannes Anthon, one of their graduates, who has started his own foundation to provide legal aid in poor communities. She also suggested the legal aid clinic of University of Windhoek.