HLAF Volunteers: A Lesson to Learn

What is volunteerism to you and how did it affect you as a person, student, and member of a community?  

“Volunteerism is a way of giving back to the community. It helped me craft my mission and vision in life and opened my eyes to the sad reality of life given that growing up I was sheltered and provided with everything that I needed.” – Law Student Volunteer

“As I make new connections, learn skills, gain experience through HLAF volunteering, I feel happier and healthier. It is very fulfilling, it helps me improve my mental health and even my academic performance.” – Law Student Volunteer

“Volunteerism is a selfless act and through it, it makes me more humane as a person, student, and member of a community.” – Law Student Volunteer

Volunteering is a selfless act that transcends boundaries, enriches lives, and fosters a sense of community. It is a cornerstone of social progress and an embodiment of our shared humanity. Whether it involves lending a helping hand to those in need, contributing to a cause, or supporting local initiatives, volunteering holds immeasurable importance in our society. In this article, we explore the transformative power of volunteering and the numerous benefits it brings to individuals, communities, and the world at large.

Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation Inc (HLAF) volunteers are a group of dedicated individuals who are passionate about providing legal aid and empowering vulnerable communities. Through their selfless efforts, these volunteers offer valuable support to those in need, ensuring access to justice and advocating for human rights. In this article, we highlight the remarkable work carried out by HLAF volunteers, shedding light on their role in creating a more equitable society.

One quote that you lived by as a HLAF volunteer?  

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”  – Law Student Volunteer

Volunteering at HLAF empowers individuals and communities by providing them with the tools and resources they need to create a better future. Through educational programs, vocational training, and community development initiatives, HLAF strives to uplift disadvantaged individuals, equipping them with skills that enable self-sufficiency and economic stability. Volunteering at HLAF is an amazing feat. Especially if one has no experience in dealing with PDLs, or has even had the chance to talk to persons deprived of liberty. The common thought process when it comes to PDLs is that they are horrible people with no good moral standing. 

What were the common misconceptions about PDL’s that you have debunked in your journey as an HLAF member? 

“PDLs are friendly and respectful. Even though they have been inside for a period of time, they are very relatable. They enjoy simple things. They’re grateful. And they care for their family even if they’re away from home.” – Law Student Volunteer

The act of volunteering at HLAF offers immense personal growth and development opportunities. Through service, people can enhance their skills, expand their knowledge, and gain valuable experiences that can shape volunteers’ personal and professional life. Whether it’s honing leadership skills, improving problem-solving abilities, or fostering teamwork and collaboration, volunteering equips people with transferable skills that are highly sought after in various domains. Furthermore, the sense of fulfillment derived from making a positive impact on others’ lives can boost self-esteem, increase sense of purpose, and foster personal happiness.

Expectations vs. Reality. Were your expectations met? Why or Why not?  

“Yes. Before I only intended to share my legal knowledge and learnings to others, but more than that, I have learned a lot of things through my experience with HLAF Volunteering. I did not only give, but I gained.” – Law Student Volunteer

“Yes, I participated in several events that the jail decongestion program of HLAF organized and became a speaker for the recent AsiKaso event. Not only was I able to share my learnings from the study of law but I was also able to learn more from my co-speakers and from the PDLs themselves. The workshop with HLAF also helped the group come up with the event.” – Law Student Volunteer

Volunteering at HLAF encourages the cultivation of global citizenship by fostering understanding, empathy, and cross-cultural connections. As a volunteer, people have the opportunity to work alongside individuals from diverse backgrounds, gaining a deeper appreciation for different cultures and perspectives. By engaging in meaningful interactions, they can break down barriers, bridge divides, and promote harmony among people from all walks of life. This global outlook not only enriches one’s own life but also contributes to the creation of a more inclusive and compassionate world.

What were your personal experiences with PDLs that created a lasting impression?  

“I have interviewed a minor PDL who was charged with a drug-related offense. She has been regretting the time she has associated herself with (bad influence) barkada which led her to try using drugs in their past times. She was also a product of a broken family, and was neglected most of the time. She became rebellious. At the time when she was arrested, her parents did not even know. She only told them that she was in prison, at the time when her case was closed and she’s waiting for her probation to be approved. She said she never told her parents since would not even bother. She was wrong. Her parents loved her, and they have reconciled their relationship even if she was still detained. In the midst of hardship, she found peace. While in jail, She rekindled her relationship with her parents.” – Law Student Volunteer

“PDLs showed their willingness to change and learn the laws that will help them become better persons and understand their cases fully well.” – Law Student Volunteer

“That they are still people who can sing, dance, and talk just like any other people who are not deprived of liberty.” – Law Student Volunteer

The dedication and compassion demonstrated by Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation Inc volunteers are invaluable in promoting access to justice and empowering vulnerable communities. Through their selfless efforts, they make a significant difference in the lives of those who need it most. By providing legal aid, raising awareness, and advocating for human rights, HLAF volunteers exemplify the power of volunteerism in creating a more equitable and just society. Their work serves as an inspiration to others, highlighting the importance of using one’s skills and resources to uplift and empower those in need.

What are the tips/advice that you can give in order to balance life as a law student and as a volunteer/intern for HLAF?  

“Prioritize commitments; study well not study hard; and remember why you’re doing it in the first place.” – Law Student Volunteer

“Study and analyze the law not just for yourself but also for the people who needs your help such that you can give back by sharing what you learned.” – Law Student Volunteer

“Time management, know your priorities, and one task at a time but if you can multitask then it’s much better.” – Law Student Volunteer

Volunteering at HLAF is not just an act of kindness; it is a transformative experience that has the power to change lives, communities, and even the world. Through dedicated service, people become an agent of positive change, helping those in need, empowering communities, and fostering global understanding. By volunteering at HLAF, people play a vital role in building a brighter future for humanity. So, step forward, lend a helping hand, and join the HLAF community in making a difference—one act of kindness at a time.


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