An innovative app, Ask Maria, has been released by South Australia’s Women’s Legal Service, designed to empower vulnerable women in the state by providing access to information about available local services and their rights.
Ask Maria stands for Asylum Seeker, Migrant and Refugee Information Assistance.
The project was funded by the Department of Social Services, under the broader national initiative of Safer Pathways for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse women, with the app providing essential information to women living in regional areas across South Australia.
Reactions to the app since its launch have been overwhelmingly positive, with interstate interest from Victoria and Queensland, interested in creating a similar app or extending the range of Ask Maria to include other regions, a resounding success fo South Australia to establish itself as a leader in providing these cutting-edge services.
Ask Maria is positioned to assist diverse women living in regional areas who face additional barriers to accessing appropriate services due not only to geographical isolation but also language barriers, and often are unsure where to get help when they need it.
As one of the first of its kind, the app provides audio support in a number of languages where users who may not be literate in their mother tongue are able to press the screen and hear a voice they can listen to and understand in their own language.
Some of the topics covered within the apps content include housing support, financial support, healthy and respectful relationships, immigration, visa and citizenships and access to interpreters, with the app available in over 9 languages to provide support and assistance to some of the state’s most vulnerable groups.
CEO of the Women’s Legal Centre SA, Zita Ngor, was delighted to finally launch this potentially life-changing service to the public.
“We hope that women from diverse backgrounds and service providers will find the app an easy and useful tool for getting information about important issues across, such as living a life free from violence and assistance with housing” she says.
The app contains contacts and links for users to be able to access further information and support to essential services.
The Women’s Legal Service SA is a community legal centre, and the peak legal body in South Australia providing free legal assistance and representation to women across SA. Since its formation in 1995, the state-wide service has assisted thousands of vulnerable women each year across the state.
Ask Maria is free to download on the App Store and Google Play.
Find out more about the Women’s Legal Service here.