Pre Counselling Claims and Completion of Claims-Forms under the Rana Plaza Claims’ Administration (RPC)


Project Period: 20th February 2014- 19th July 2014

Working Area: Dhaka

Donor: GIZ


Context:

Rana Plaza building collapse was one of the deadliest garment factory accidents in the history of RMG industry in Bangladesh causing atleast 1,137 lives injuring 2500 people most of whom were garment workers. Women made up 80% of the dead and injured. Many of the deceased or the injured were the only income earners in their families, as result, the harm of the immediate and direct loss is amplified. Most of the survivors are illiterate and little or no knowledge of their rights to make claims under “ Practical Arrangement” and have limited capacity to complete claim forms.


Goal/Objectives:

To inform potential claimants of their rights and of the process for making claims under the practical arrangement in relation to the loss they have suffered consequent to the Rana Plaza collapse.

To assist potential claimants in completing the claims form in order to apply for payments under the “ Practical Arrangement”


Activities:

  • Provide information to the potential clients about the process and mechanism of making claims under the arrangement including the procedural requirements, including photographs, documentary and other proof necessary. It will brief the claimants on the claim the procedure applicable based on their individual context.
  • Provide assistance in completing forms. The paralegals will inform the claimants that the information provided by them will be disclosed before the processing of their claims and obtain their consent to filling out the claim form. They will fill out the claim form and review and store the documents provided by the applicant. They will provide advice on any additional document that is required in case of absence of any essential document mentioned in the claim forms. The documents will then be attached to the claim forms and submitted to the supervisor for certification. The claimants will be provided with a copy of the completed claim form. All the information will be stored in database incase  the forms were filed up in hard copies.

Expected Results:

  1. Rana Plaza claimants are sensitized on the trust fund claims management process.
  2. Approximately 3840 filled up claim forms in the database developed for Rana Plaza claims management process


WORK UNDERTAKEN


Outcomes:

  1. Over the project period the Claims Team dealt with a total of 3181 claimants. From those whose gender was recorded, approximately 64% of claimants were women while 36% were men.
    1. Full forms completed: Out of these, 2587 have filled out a claims form and submitted the required documents at their first attempt.
    2. Partial forms completed: Few others have filled out the form but were unable to complete the process as their forms required further documentation. These claimants have been provided with a list of documentation needed, and a date when they should submit those.
    3. Returned forms: Those who were unable to fill out the Claim Form as they were not able to provide any documentation to submit with the form were also requested to return with any form of relevant documentation that they may find. Most of these claimants have subsequently returned with the necessary papers and were able to complete and submit their forms.
    4. Arrangement of a sheltered waiting space for Claimants: Arrangements were made for the claimants, enabling them to sit rest or stand in the queue with some shade and protection from the heat or rain, as they waited to fill up their Claims Forms.
    5. Availability of Saline Water: Saline solution has been provided to Claimants on a daily basis to help them cope with the problem of dehydration associated with waiting for long hours in hot humid weather.
    6. Refreshments for Claimants/ Toys for children: BLAST arranged for refreshments to be provided to the Claimants and have also made toys and drawing kits available in the separate area named “Khela Ghor” marked off for children accompanying the claimants.



Complex/Sensitive Cases dealt with by the RPCA:

  • Identification of False ID Cards: When individuals have come forward to fill out the claim form with their false ID’s, the RPCA team have successfully identified such cases and reported it to their Supervisor’s who further analyzed those ID cards. If found to be false, the Supervisor’s then took it upon themselves to take care of the situation and have in those cases, cordially refused to initiate the processing of those false Claimant’s claim request.

  • Dispute resolution through mediation etc: The paralegals were more than often faced with cases where they had to resolve the family dispute within the claimant’s family. On the 20.07.2014 for example, the paralegals were faced with a difficult situation where an aged man came forward and introduced himself as the father of the Claimant. The Claimant and her brother, who was present with her, initially denied that she knew the man. The paralegals along with the Senior Supervisor then spoke to the girl and the man and eventually learnt that the man was indeed her father but had left her, her siblings and her mother when they were children and that was the reason why she had denied knowing him and that she was unhappy to see him come forward now. The RPCA team successfully helped the family finally come to an understanding within them.

  • Emotional support to Rana Plaza Victims: The paralegals as well as the Supervisors have dealt with a lot of sensitive cases on a regular basis which more than often involved them to empathize with the Claimants/family members of those deceased.  The team members therefore faced the challenge of acting professionally in extreme emotional situations e.g. when they had to enter data from blood stained ID cards of deceased worker’s or when they had to hear stories from family members of workers who had suffered mental trauma and have still not recovered from their ordeal.

  • Referral services provided by the RPCA Team: The RPCA team has regularly come across situations where upon hearing a Claimant’s story, a paralegal would inform the Claimant how other organizations could help with their other difficulties. So for example, a paralegal would relay information on the help provided by Ain o Shalish Kendra (ASK) to a Claimant in need of Psycho Social Counselling. Also, when a difficult family dispute came to the attention of the paralegals, they would inform the Claimants about the free mediation services provided by BLAST. The RPCA team did not follow up on whether these Claimants actually sought assistance from any of those referred organizations so a statistics on referred cases cannot be given at this stage.




See Photos of Project Activities.

 

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