Nita Garg, Class of '11

Former Student/Alumni

While the Human Rights Clinic was filled with great memories for me, one experience made more of an impression than others. My partner and I were lucky enough to conduct field work in Ghana for our project on communities affected by mining. This field work consisted of interviewing various government officials, non-profit workers, and community members living near mining sites. While each interview was an eye-opening experience, one interview in particular stood out. It had been a long day in the heat and Joanna was our last interview for the day. At the end of each interview, my partner and I would ask the interviewee if they had anything to ask us before we concluded. Joanna, rather than asking a question, said she had something to say. With tears in her eyes, Joanna said she knew my partner and I were well educated, and could spend our lives making significant amounts of money if we wanted. But, she continued, when you have your degree, don’t forget about people like me, who are helpless and vulnerable. She said she knew that she did not have much to offer us, but that we could offer her so much just by trying to help. I don’t think Joanna knew how much she offered to me that day. While I’ve always known I want to pursue a career in this field, hearing and seeing the impact human rights law can have on those who most need the law on their side, left an indelible mark.