When a young Saudi lawyer returned to the kingdom after years of living abroad, her first months of work allowed her to realize that thousands of women in her country didn't know their legal rights.

To help change that, Nasreen Alissa decided to launch a creative app called "Know Your Rights.

The application is considered the first of its kind in the kingdom and across the Middle East. It provides women free legal advice and services, helping to empower them with much needed knowledge. 

Speaking to StepFeed, Alissa told us more about the application and the impact it has had on women's lives so far. 

Who is Nasreen Alissa?

Nasreen Alissa is a Saudi national who was born, raised, and educated abroad. 

After she received a double bachelors degree in law and sociology, in addition to double master degrees in law, the successful lawyer moved back to the kingdom. 

She currently works as a corporate lawyer at a private law firm and is also involved in various charity organizations and initiatives related to the rights of women in Saudi Arabia. 

Speaking of her interests she said:

"I am highly interested and passionate about taking up pro bono cases and helping people, especially women, through launching charitable initiatives."

The story behind the application

"I’ve always wanted to help women, and be involved in women’s rights.

When I moved to Saudi in 2012, I realized that a lot of women don’t know much about their rights and I felt that there was crucial need for that to change. At first, I thought maybe I should publish a book, but then realized that because we live in a technologically advanced era, an app would be more fitting and would reach more people," she told StepFeed. 

After years of work, "Know Your Rights" eventually launched on the 4th of July, 2016. 

Today, the app helps Saudi women find more independence and empowerment. 

"It's a solution app, so let's say a woman has a specific problem and is looking for legal solutions, she now has a place where she can easily find them," Alissa explained. 

"I wanted it to be like a woman’s kingdom, so I made sure that anything and everything a woman might need is available on the platform. There’s a section on intellectual property rights: You wrote a poem and someone stole it? Your husband stole your jewelry? There's an answer. You’re looking for a job? You need advice on how to start looking, there's an answer for that as well," she added.  

The impact has been great so far

Since its launch, the app has seen thousands of Saudi women use it to figure out how they can get the law on their side in various situations. 

"We've tracked over 25K iOS downloads in addition to over 10K downloads on Android," Alissa said.

When asked about the impact the app has had on the lives of the women who've used it, the lawyer explained: 

"It has already helped a lot of women when it comes to figuring out what to do when they find themselves in a troubling situation. 

The app also features a video that explains how a woman can file a lawsuit on her own, without the need to hire a lawyer and many have used it to do that," Alissa added. 

Plans for the future

Alissa is continuously working on developing and expanding the app, so that it features up-to-date information and guidance. 

"I expand in accordance to what women need and depending on the consultations I get.

I am also constantly working on editing the content in the app because different laws that are related to women in the kingdom continue to change," she added. 

In recent years, many Saudi women, including Alissa, have called for reforms in laws that govern the rights of women in Saudi Arabia. 

And it seems that the work they're doing is moving things forward. 

In recent months, the kingdom has passed several new laws that help enhance women's rights.

These include laws that govern the country's male guardianship system, marriage, divorce, alimony, and child custody. 

Message from Alissa to Saudi and Arab women

When asked to share a message with Saudi and Arab women, Alissa referenced the same note she previously wrote and shared with women through her app:

"Focus on continually developing and empowering yourself. Learn to be independent, read books, find a job you enjoy doing, take care of yourself, find a passion, a goal in life and relentlessly pursue it." 

This profile is part of StepFeed's Featured Arabs series, featuring Arabs you should know about. Read previous profile's here.