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Blackhall trainees thanked by Afghan judges for their help
Charlotte Lyons

14 Feb 2022 / law society Print

Blackhall trainees thanked by Afghan judges for help

Three Blackhall Place PPC 1 law school students have been warmly thanked for the help they have given Afghan women judges who are now refugees in Ireland.

Law Society trainees Charlotte Lyons (25), Catherine Moloney (25), and Sana Malik (26), have all volunteered to help the displaced women with their conversational English, as part of resettlement efforts.

The three trainees have found the classes to be a very rewarding experience, and their students have expressed grateful thanks.

Psychological pressure

One judge wrote: “I appreciate that you and your colleagues took the time for us, and your attitude is a good note for us in the life of immigration.

“Because, when a person is forced to leave their homeland and leaves everything without a will, and seeks refuge in another land to survive, the immigrant is really under psychological pressure.

“Because we were educated in our homeland and became judges, it is not easy to lose all success, but it was Ireland that issued us visas, that gave us hope for life. You, in turn, helped us. I want your kind action to be recorded in the history of the world.”

Charlotte, from Aghamore, Co Mayo, is a trainee with LK Shields and explains that she wanted to put her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification to good use to help the women judges integrate into Irish society.

TCD graduate Charlotte taught English while living in Lisbon last year. She responded to the call for volunteers to teach conversational English, and began classes in early January. 

She explains that the lessons are largely about practical matters, such as how to navigate public transport, or visit the GP.

“Most of the judges have a good level of English – it’s about trying to get them to conversational fluency,” she explains.

The Zoom classes also have a social element, since the judges are scattered around the country.

Irish culture

“They are really keen to learn about Irish culture as well, so we weave a little bit of than into it,” Charlotte adds.

“And because they have a legal background, we do a little bit about the Irish legal system,” she says.

“They are really interested in that because most of them want to get back to some form of work in the legal profession,” Charlotte says. 

The women are friendly and eager to learn, and enjoy the process of learning.

Young women

“A lot of them are young women, and it’s good for them to be able to talk to other young Irish women,” Charlotte adds. “They would be on the younger side, for judges,” she says. “I enjoy doing voluntary work anyway,” says Charlotte.

Sana Malik

Sana Malik (above) who is training with Pinsent Masons and has a Masters in Corporate Law from the London School of Economics, previously taught debating to underprivileged secondary school children in London.

“Those weekly classes consisted of teaching, not only advocacy, persuasion and presentation skills, but also effective communication skills, use of grammar and punctuation, and effective use of language and words in order to get your point across,” she explains.    

Catherine Moloney

Catherine (Cat) Moloney (above) from Nenagh, Co Tipperary studied Law and Chinese Studies at University College Dublin and is now a trainee with A&L Goodbody. 

While Cat doesn’t have a TEFL qualification, she taught English in Beijing in China, where she spent her third year of college. 

Cat also has volunteer experience teaching with both the Law Society’s Street Law programme and the UCD Access Learning Scheme, where she gave grinds to exam-year students in a Dublin secondary school.

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