It was a usual busy morning for a working mum. I checked the weather to see if the promised English summer was actually upon us before I got the kids ready. I dropped off my older one – a chatty 5 year old – to school and my younger one to nursery.
I headed into the iProbono office, walking across London Bridge whilst taking in the lovely view of the City with clear blue skies, shimmering water of the Thames river. There were tall buildings all around with everyone jostling their way to work.
I know Shireen and Swathi, our two co-founders, were working on an extremely sensitive case of a five year old brutally assaulted and how her courageous mother was fighting a lone battle for justice. Her faith in the justice system, when everything seemed bleak, was remarkable.
Amal, which means hope, was what we called the little girl to protect her identity and we called her frail, yet strong mother, Munira. Over the next few months, I heard the details of the case from Shireen and every time what drew me to the case was that I had a five year old at home and how different her life, thankfully, was. The guilt of our privilege as I could have easily been Munira, the 24-year old construction worker and my daughter, Amal was something I couldn’t get out of my head.
I remember hugging my daughters extra tight in the warmth and comfort of their beds after I had heard Amal and Munira’s story for the first time. I was trying to keep up with my daughters’ non-stop chattering about their day whilst trying not to think about Amal and her mother.
My work with the charity was always a step removed from being in the field. I was one of the few non-lawyers in our small team and worked mainly on our UK programs. My involvement with the case was that of being an occasional translator; helping with some of the fundraising aspects and mainly speaking to Munira with Shireen to regularly check-in on her.
At that point, we were a small team both in the UK and India and it was all hands on deck for the case. Everyone pitched in as much as they could – helping Amal get admission through the Right to Education Act, ensuring she got all the medical help she needed, being there for her mother, her brothers and her in every step of the way. It was a case that brought us all together in more ways than one.
For me, it was a story of a mother trying to protect her five year old daughter and how my life moved in parallel to hers but our worlds were polar opposites. Munira and I talked about our daughters’ artwork; their favourite colours and many other things that only mothers would find interesting.
Amal and Munira have been part of the iProbono family for many years – I don’t want their story to be forgotten. That case was the foundation from which our successful child rights programme was built.
I always enjoyed my work at the charity but Amal and Munira’s story changed me. I have been a small part of their lives since 2014 and everyday they make me realise at the end of the day it is just a luck of the draw.
To witness Amal’s inspiring story, watch our video –
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Article by Binita Modi, iProbono’s Operations Director and Chair of the India Board.