Harnessing NGO Internships for Student Learning: Project Report Submission to the Gaje Symposium 2021


  • Anahita Surya Centre for Social Justice
  • Nupur Centre for Social Justice




Non-Governmental Organisations (“NGOs”) are amongst the most important actors in the field of legal education. They offer to students what the classroom never can – an opportunity to contribute to addressing real life issues, while equally contextualising what they learn in the classroom. Yet, the role of NGOs in developing pedagogical innovations in clinical education is often overlooked. Similarly, there exists a discord between the internship model and the clinical legal education model. That is, while many NGOs offer internships, such internships rarely provide the level of cross learning expected from a clinical program. Instead, students are delegated clerical, sometimes meaningless work. A well-designed internship in coordination with university faculty provides an invaluable opportunity for students, NGOs and universities to share and co-construct knowledge. However, the potential of such an arrangement is rarely explored, at least in the Indian context.

With this as the point of departure, this report captures the experiences and learnings of Centre for Social Justice (“CSJ”) in promoting practice-oriented learning rooted in field realities through its internship program. While a broad overview of CSJ’s internship program is provided, the predominant focus is on the organisation’s work during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Author Biographies

Anahita Surya, Centre for Social Justice

Anahita is a graduate of the Australian National University. She is part of Centre for Social Justice’s Young Professionals program, and has been working with the organisation since October 2018. She has been involved in CSJ’s intervention on activating the Legal Services Authorities to protect the rights of vulnerable groups affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. Anahita worked closely with student interns as part of this intervention.  

Nupur, Centre for Social Justice

Nupur is a graduate of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Nupur has been working with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) since its inception and has been actively involved in developing innovative pedagogical approaches to legal studies that bridge the gap between academia and the field. Drawing on its extensive field experience, CSJ has conducted a number of faculty development workshops and Training of Trainer Workshops, including one for representatives from seven countries under Brac University’s South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS). Nupur also teaches at the Institute of Law, Nirma University.






From the Field