Girls for a Change: Over 210 Children Empowered to Become Decision Makers

Client: Girls for a Change
Firm: Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C., Lex Mundi member firm for Mexico
Sectors: Education, Leadership Development, Equality
Issue:  Representation before government agencies, tax filing, incorporation, tax exempt status, ongoing support

Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C., the Lex Mundi member firm for Mexico, is an instrumental partner in Mexico for Girls for a Change (“Girls”). Introduced by the Foundation in January 2012, Girls is now one of the firm’s most significant pro bono clients. Initially, Girls sought Basham’s advice on expanding their program from the U.S. and the legal structure required for operating a program in Mexico. Basham has done more than just help the organization get established, they have worked with Girls to modify the program to better fit the needs of Mexican communities and Girls launched it’s program in Mexico: Gente Joven por un Cambio (GJC) “Youth for a Change.” GJC works with adolescents in impoverished areas and inspires young people ages 12-18 years to have a positive impact on their communities and become catalysts for social change.

Over two years later, Basham continues to provide pro bono assistance to GJC. Basham’s pro bono work for GJC has included: appearances before the Public Registry and Ministry of Finance; all fillings and applications to ensure that the organization is tax exempt; GJC’s incorporation as a Civil Association (A.C.), comparable to the application for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in the United States; registration of trademarks including GJC’s logo; review of the organization’s labor agreements and simpler everyday legal advice. The pro bono legal matters Basham and GJC embark on together have led to a longstanding and successful working relationship, clearly demonstrating the ways in which effective legal support can facilitate social change.

Julio Copo Terrés, the Administrative Coordinator for the Basham Foundation, describes perhaps the most significant underlying challenge of pro bono work today: “One of the greatest difficulties for any attorney rendering pro bono legal services is truly understanding the tremendous impact of small day-today legal actions on the work their clients carry out. By upholding and creating the legal framework for Gente Joven por un Cambio, for example, we have allowed for 210 youths to be empowered change makers in their communities.” Copo Terrés emphasizes the importance of these efforts, which enable and propel the social entrepreneur movement in effectuating impact and social change nationally.

Through the legal framework created by Basham, GJC has empowered over 210 children in three different locations to “become decision makers, create visionary change and realize their full potential while managing bullying, violence, kidnapping and pregnancy.” GJC inspires young people ages 12-18 in low-income areas to have a positive impact on their communities and become catalysts for social change. Through the program, participants learn the skills they need to transform their communities as well as their personal lives—developing their voice, utilizing their abilities, and enhancing their problem-solving capacity.