On Sunday, June 12, 2016
I received five new refugee cases by the end of May (18 cases in all). Ten of these cases required me to send e-mails and make phone calls to different courts, the Department of Home Affairs, and non-profit organizations in order to help our clients to receive certificates, protection orders, or additional assistance that our office cannot provide.
Eight of the cases required me to draft relative legal documents such as affidavits, initial summons of divorce, and refugee rejection appeal letters, as well as to accompany the clients to police stations, court, and even to the Department of Home Affairs.
I participated more in the face-to-face client consultations and visits to various offices and courts in these two weeks. These experiences exposed me to the real-life challenges brought by bureaucracy and different policies. My clients' viewpoints helped me to understand the conflict between "foreigners" (those asylum seekers/refugees who come from other parts of Africa) and South Africans.
These four weeks in Cape Town have been a very challenging but also rewarding experience for me. I became better informed of the various social justice problems on the other side of the world (which also share a similarity to those problems in the States). I have developed more knowledge and gained more experience to develop an empathy rather than sympathy towards the less fortunate.