Stanny Jebamalai

Ashoka Fellow
Surat, Gujarat, India
Fellow Since 2001


This profile was prepared when Stanny Jebamalai was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
India's adivasis, traditionally non-Hindu people also known as tribals, have often been denied the rights and benefits they deserve as citizens. Through a broad grassroots movement, Stanny is helping them access the justice system and giving them the tools they need to fight for their fundamental rights. Stanny sees that although legal aid programs for remote tribal communities have sought redress in individual instances of abuse, preventative measures must be taken to curb abuse and strengthen the protection offered to tribals by the legal system and other public institutions. Stanny is building a machine with three moving parts: human resources, in the form of paralegals and lawyers who work in the courts; people's organizations that sustain and lead tribal rights campaigns; and a coordinating organization that trains activists and arranges mass events. By educating tribal women and men to be paralegals, Stanny and his staff at the Law and Human Rights Center (LAHRC) are creating a corps of community organizers who help tribals understand and assert their rights as Indian citizens. The paralegals also support professional adivasi lawyers who are defending tribals in court.
As organizers, Stanny's field staff help establish citizen-led organizations that move from individual intervention to collective action. Self-funded, self-led and largely self-replicating, the people's organizations are the beginnings of civil society organizations for those with limited or no access to the government and the citizen sector.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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