Attorney, Educator and Social Justice Advocate: These are some of the titles Ms. Rukaiyat Lawal has earned in her professional life. And that is not all. She is also a community volunteer, mom, and the 2018 Team Lead for the PEIF Fund’s Kids Food Basket Program, which supports the Edmonton Food Bank with donations from an annual food campaign for poor kids in the Edmonton area. Rukaiyat relocated from London, UK to Canada following a law degree from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, a BL from the Nigerian Law School, and a degree in postgraduate diploma in education from Brunel University, Oxbridge, UK. Rukaiyat is a dedicated advocate for social justice and deeply committed to service. She has volunteered with several NGOs across the UK and Canada for over twelve years, including the Citizens Advice Bureau of London UK, Pro Bono Alberta – where she now works, the Edmonton Community Legal Centre in Alberta, and the Elizabeth Fry Society, Canada.
Rukaiyat’s commitment to service is motivated by her desire to contribute positively to the lives of the less fortunate in her community, and this fuels her work with Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA). Pro Bono Law Alberta is a non-profit organisation that administers two court-based programs at the Edmonton Courthouse. One of these, the Civil Claims Duty Counsel Project (CCDC Edmonton), is a summary legal advice clinic designed to provide free legal services to self-represented litigants with civil matters in Provincial court, and the other, the Queens Bench Amicus Program (QB Amicus Edmonton), provides in-chambers assistance to self-represented litigants with civil matters in Masters and Justice Chambers.
Earlier this year, Rukaiyat was recognized for her involvement in promoting access to justice by facilitating opportunities for lawyers to provide free legal services to persons of limited means. She received the 2018 Pro Bono Law Alberta Outstanding Volunteer Award in two different categories: The unattached volunteer who picked up the highest number of shifts in 2017 in the CCDC category and the unattached volunteer who picked up the highest number of shifts in 2017 in the QB Amicus category.
Rukaiyat is grateful for the recognition which, she says, has inspired her to continue to strive for accessible justice for individuals irrespective of their financial and social circumstances. Also a teacher by training, Rukaiyat combines volunteering with such organizations as the Elizabeth Fry Society with a day job, raising a family, and leading the PEIF Fund’s 2018 Kids Food Basket Campaign as a member of the Class of 2018. She looks forward to furthering her work in social justice in Edmonton.