The AERG Legal and Counselling Helpline was established to fill the gap in support for young survivors with legal and mental health challenges, so that they can access support regardless of where they are located. Patrick Nkubana of the Aegis Trust has produced a powerful short film to illustrate the remarkable work and support that the team and volunteers have delivered to young survivors since the project was set up in 2013.
The helpline was launched with the intention of primarily providing telephone-based support. However, since its establishment in August 2013, the Helpline has grown from a small pilot telephone-based service to an innovative, all-encompassing legal and counselling support service. By providing legal and counselling support services countrywide, the Helpline has filled a necessary gap in support for vulnerable young survivors with outstanding legal disputes or suffering from trauma.
This is one of the only free and accessible services for young survivors incapable of affording to take their legal cases to court or lacking the confidence or ability to find someone to talk to about a mental health issue. In addition to providing telephone-based support, the helpline also has field staff who provide support to clients through legal education and orientation, advocacy and representation in court.
Since the establishment of the Helpline, the project has supported 991 youth with legal issues and has resolved 371 of the cases. The value of the resolved cases across the country is estimated to be over $750,000. In addition, the Helpline has provided counselling to 287 youth, and oriented a further 623 cases to other service providers.
The work has been made possible by an array of generous donors, in particular INSPIRE!africa.