“A young lawyer in New Zealand is unlikely to work across such a broad range of law and even less likely to work unsupervised. I’ve really enjoyed stepping up to the challenge and being a small part of such meaningful change.”
It costs money to send volunteers overseas and every dollar you donate to VSA goes towards programmes that really do work.
Sophie worked as a Legal Adviser for the Temotu Provincial Government. Temotu is the most eastern of the Solomon Islands’ nine provinces. Before she went on assignment she was working in Wellington as a lawyer for the New Zealand Aid Programme.
Sophie worked with about 20 colleagues in the provincial capital, Lata. She provided advice on a range of issues including land, elections, forestry, the environment, undersea mining, employment, international maritime law, infrastructure contracts and marine protection. She also advised drop-in visitors on personal legal matters.
Sophie was working with provincial and national government officers to get the owners of a wrecked vessel at Lata Wharf to take responsibility for removing it. The vessel has been blocking access to the wharf for the past five years. It is an environmental, health and navigational hazard, as well as being an eyesore for tourists arriving by sea. Sophie and her colleagues tracked down the owners and are hopeful that the wreck will soon be removed.
“The wonderful, kind people in Temotu. When I was having a tough time my friends arranged a traditional ceremony to get rid of the bad spirits. I felt so blessed and honoured.”
“I have a new confidence in my abilities. I have done so many things both professionally and personally that I never thought I would be able to do. “
“How to make something from nothing. Most Temotuans do not have many material possessions but their hard work and a culture of sharing means no one ever goes hungry. Even when times are tough people still approach life with such positive, resilient attitudes and sense of humour."
"To slow down and take things as they come. Even the music is slow here!”
“How good ideas can really take off with persistence and the right support.”