RAISE YOUR VOICE for the Garment workers in Bangladesh
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I am Salma, 23 years old and working in a garment factory for 5 years in Gazipur, Dhaka (Bangladesh). I share a 12 Sq m. room with four of my working colleagues. I have two children, who used to live with me. But as they started to go to school, my expenses increased. Because I have to pay school fees and cannot afford them with my little earning, I sent them back to my village. Now they are living with their grandmother. As I just get 6 days off twice a year (for the EID-festival), I have to wait for about 10 months to see my children again. My heart always cries for that. Usually, I work from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm in the printing section, which is basically 3 hours overtime almost every day. Sometimes I even have to work till 11 pm. I have pain in the spinal cord and a headache for many years as I work in the same position every day. Using chemicals attacks my skin as well, because there are not gloves for every worker available every day. But I cannot afford the lotion prescribed by the doctor.
This is just the picture of one garment worker in Bangladesh. There are many more female workers who are facing these problems in their daily life. They don’t get enough facilities and struggling for their livelihood daily.
· Often overtime up to 12 or 15 hours, even on the day off; sometimes without payment
· No proper payment (in average 5500 BDT - 7500 BDT, 55€-75€, $68 - $93); that's why many garment workers live in the slum or shared rooms with many people
· Lack of safety measurement and training (still fires, and direct exposure to chemicals etc. )
· Lack of trade unions
· Child labor in some factories
· Health issues (back pain, respiratory problems, eye problems, skin irritation etc.)
Bangladesh is the third biggest exporter in the world for Ready Made Garments (RMG), contributing 81% of the whole export of the country. There are more than 5 thousand garment factories and around 4 million workers are involved in that factories. For the solution of the problems mentioned above, many NGOs and the government are applying different plans and policies. But still the condition is not improving.
The following parties need to take proper action:
· International Brands: Watch the workers rights and pay FAIR prices
· Owners of garment factories: Follow the law, respect the RIGHTS of garment workers
· Government: Make proper laws and strictly implement them
· Civil society: Arise awareness for social pressure for owners, government and brands
· Consumers: Inform yourself about the brands you support, by buying their clothes (check certificates e.g. ACCORD)
· Media: Promote the rights of garment workers
· Youth: Believe in your power! You are the future of tomorrow, maybe the manager of one of tomorrow’s factories
In order to raise the voice of the garment workers in Bangladesh, young people from different countries like Germany, Nepal, India and Bangladesh are working together on ”Project Equal” of AIESEC Bangladesh. We are focusing on raising awareness among the youth of the world because we believe in youth power, decision and leadership. So, if you really want to be part of it, then join this movement and support us by signing in!
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