At Empower Bangladesh, we strive to educate neglected communities, families, and individuals of the rights they were born with. The rigidness of social class has left scars still visible on society today. Too many people accept that exploitation is reality they must live with. Spouses, workers, and even children are taken advantage of simply because they don't know who or what institution represents them. Our mission is to reach out and educate those who are vulnerable. A network of volunteers comprised of lawyers meet the forgotten people and Bangladesh and empower them to believe they are not alone, and their rights cannot be infringed. Essentially our goal is to provide free legal consultation and to encourage people to follow up with grievances regarding exploitation. Our inevitable mission is to provide free legal representation to those who need it most.
Goals & Targeted Concerns
Our goals can be surmised simply as such; legal counsel and representation to all. Social constructs in Bangladesh has led to years of misinformation. Many feel they do not possess rights let alone to pursue wrongdoers in a court of law.
Our goals are simple; build a network of people willing to represent the forgotten.
The four social concerns and goals we put emphasis on. This does not mean our goals are solely limited to such.
Relationships in Bangladesh still suffer from symptoms of an earlier time. Spouses believe that abuse both physical and emotional are commonplace. More discouraging is the belief that they are not entitled to anything.
We hope to serve as a voice to women who feel silenced by social taboos.
While officially child labor is criminalized, that is not the reality to many who would prefer schools over jobs.
Many families are unaware of government programs and subsidies designed to encourage student enrollment. We hope to educate families thoroughly on their options and enroll them into programs on their behalf.
Labor contracts with employees in Bangladesh is perhaps the most underrepresented demographic. Employers verge on indentured servitude, and workers accept it.
We want to inform workers of increasingly new frameworks that can be utilized to better protect employee vulnerabilities.
Recent headlines highlight the prevalent need to have representation to those who wish to voice opinions regarding sensitive subject matters. We believe that to uphold standards of a true democracy, we must represent not only the forgotten but the silenced.
Our work going forward will concentrate on believing that free thinking is unparalleled.
“Knowing the rules is the best way to prevent others from abusing them.”
Monica Khan | Co-Founder
Our History & The Road Ahead
Our path and goals have been shaped by the headlines that have routinely defined Bangladesh's image and perception around the world. Officially we began our initiatives for legal counsel and representation in 2014. However the collective efforts we put into these respective causes have stemmed from issues that have plagued Bangladesh in the years prior. Notable headlines such as factories that abuse workers, or secular thinkers who have been affected by cruel and intolerable acts have shaped the urgency of our cause.
In 2014 it became apparent to those of us at Empower Bangladesh that there was a hidden need to provide legal representation to those who feel either exploited or vulnerable. Too many times we have read headlines of atrocities and complacency as the aftermath. People's rights were being infringed. Empower Bangladesh began the first phase of its rollout by doing community outreach in Dhaka working class neighborhoods.
From then we began a radical restructuring on how we canvassed and connected with people. In 2016 we unveiled a program designed to get prospective and current lawyers and coordinate how they can tackle cases with no compensation required. We decided the best way to fill this void is to follow the paradigms set forward by other non-profit organizations. Our network of lawyers been successful in representing those with grievances in smaller courts.
2017, the road becomes more clear. We have added new initiatives to build a more specialized and comprehensive volunteer force. One of the main goals we have set ourselves is to expand our digital presence and promote our cause via more innovative mediums. We plan to launch full capabilities to our site within the coming months, May 2017 will be our initial soft launch. Site features will include but not limited to; web donations, volunteer sign-ups, access to local subsidy forms, forums for discussion, and scholarship opportunities. Our primary and most ambitious digital initiative is to crowdsource legal solutions for issues around Bangladesh reported by our volunteers. An initiative exclusively designed for lawyers as a means to reduce individual case work and maximize the utilization of the talent we have at our disposal. By extending our mission beyond physical consultations, we truly embrace the mission of empowering Bangladesh in 2017. As a whole we are committed to ideals focused on research, preparation, and public policy. We feel confident in our work so far and the challenges we have set forward.