Funded by C&A Foundation, a corporate foundation to transform apparel industry, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) launched a mobile application called “Sromik Jigyasha” last year.
The app was launched to improve lives of ready-made garment workers by providing access to justice.
Accessible in both English and Bangla, the “Sromik Jigyasha” app has a team of BLAST lawyers and counsellors that respond to workers’ queries. Workers can either call to the designated persons or send text messages. The BLAST team also provides information related to labour law and available health services.
“About 65 percent of garment workers use smart phones, so they can easily use an app for legal help,” said Tayebur Rahman, Manager of WEARS Project at BLAST. Considering the limited access to law information in the past, the app will help RMG workers to be aware of their rights, believes Rahman.
Over 10,000 users have already logged in to the app. Any garment worker can register by signing in using their mobile number. The queries received are regarding workers' welfare benefits, work hours and leave entitlement, legal remedies, maternity leave and payment, sexual harassment, wage disparities, and overtime.
The legal team on the app also helps with legal support following violence against women, health services, and ambulance facilities. On receiving a query, a paralegal may submit that application to a lawyer if the applicant requires more than just legal advice. Identity of the users would remain protected.
Khondaker Ali Amjaad, Mediation Officer, BLAST told, “We receive complaints through the app on dues or compensation of RMG workers who were forced to leave. But recently we noticed that there are many cases of sexual harassment. The most common complaint is that supervisors inappropriately touch female workers.”
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