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Friday, January 21, 2022

App launched to help Nepalis in Qatar and other countries stay safe


Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A mobile phone app designed to help Nepalis make informed choices about moving abroad for work has launched in the Google Play store.

The Shuvayatra – or “safe journey” app – features information in Nepali about labor rights, work permits, working conditions and job application procedures.

Conveying its message using audio, video, Facebook links and written content, it also features advice specifically tailored to the needs of female migrants.

The Shuvayatra web page
The Shuvayatra web page

It also includes local dos and don’ts, with specific information about migrating to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, three of the most popular destination for Nepali expats.

The Embassy of Nepal estimates that there are around 400,000 Nepalese nationals currently working in Qatar.

‘Many pitfalls’

Shuvayatra is backed by two prominent community organizations – the Asia Foundation and the Non-Resident Nepali Association – and was designed by a consortium of Nepali companies.

In a statement on its website, the app’s developers said that they hope to harness the high cell phone usage among the Nepali population to give prospective migrant workers the information they need.

“Many of these young workers struggle to obtain information on the complex process of migration and its many pitfalls, leaving them vulnerable to labor exploitation, human trafficking, and financial distress,” they said.

Women focus

Speaking to Doha News, a representative from the Asia Foundation said that the app had content specifically aimed at women because many of those seeking work as domestic help use “irregular migration channels” to avoid government restrictions:

“This puts them at a greater risk of abuse, and makes it harder for them to get help from the authorities if they need it” they told us.

The app includes interviews with female experts on the migration process, as well as content from female migrants themselves, they said.

According to the Asia Foundation, the app has been tested on male and female migrant workers who have returned to Nepal, and its content has been approved by migrant rights advocates.

The developers are already considering new features, including allowing individual workers to use it to share their ideas and opinions about the migration process.

Have you downloaded the app? Thoughts?

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