Student Organizations

Direct Action Against Poverty

Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit .  
- Eli Khamarov

Our Mission

Direct Action Against Poverty (DAAP) is a student organization at Harvard Law School, which seeks to promote humanitarian goals by carrying out concrete projects to combat domestic and international poverty. DAAP will encourage students to create innovative anti-poverty initiatives, advocate for the plight of impoverished communities, and educate the campus and broader community about issues of poverty. Additionally, DAAP members will join the efforts of established humanitarian organizations and perform research on pressing legal issues impacting impoverished persons and communities on a global level.

Organizational History

Direct Action Against Poverty (DAAP) was founded as Direct Action on Harvard Law School’s campus in 1998 by a few dedicated students who were so moved by the poverty unearthed by a flood in Southeast Asia, they wanted to take direct action against it.

Since its inception, DAAP has served as vehicle for students to implement hands-on programs and perform cutting-edge work in some of the most impoverished areas of the world. DAAP has sent students to perform legal work in Haiti, Brazil and other South American nations; has made a relief flight to help famine victims in the Sudan; and has started a clinic for orphans in Kigali, Rwanda. DAAP has also served to raise awareness and to educate the law school and broader communities about the nations that we have served and about poverty as an intellectual and legal concept.

Current Endeavors

The current board of DAAP is excited about the lives that we will be able to affect in 2006-2007. We have three programmatic areas that we will focus on: Research & Education, Service and Direct Action. We are always open to any input you may have about new projects!

Research & Education
DAAP recognizes that the struggle to combat poverty happens on a variety of fronts that require diverse talent and energy. We seek to develop realizable anti-poverty innovation projects that the group can implement domestically or abroad; to research for cutting edge legislation and litigation, such as the anti-poverty legislation response to Hurricane Katrina; and to organize events where local, national and international speakers can educate the community about poverty and related issues.

Members of DAAP know that service is the essence of who we are and is integral to everything we do. This committee is engaged in planning our monthly service projects to combat local poverty. These service projects can be anything from volunteering, to leading job training workshops, to raising money to donate to the local poor, and beyond.

Direct Action
The beauty of DAAP is that we aim to make a direct impact on the lives of others by meeting them at their point of need, which for most of the impoverished, means immediate, tangible assistance. DAAP will work with the Pro Bono office at Harvard Law School to continue providing direct legal and physical assistance to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. This year, we also hope to make a positive impact to alleviate the plight of orphans in Mozambique, a nation with a high rate of orphaned children coupled with very restrictive adoption laws.


R. Earl Benson, Jr.
Johanna R. Dyer
Bendita C. Malakia

Joshua A. Roper

Caitlin Bales



For more information about DAAP, our projects or how you can get involved,

feel free to contact us at or check out our website at !