There was panic, shock and blood. The building had collapsed, and thousands of people were trapped in the rubble.
Sharmin looked over at her sister who was covered in blood, her legs and hands broken. The sisters were garment workers, forced to work in a building deemed unsafe just 24 hours earlier. Forced to work or lose their income. The workers had no rights and no voice. Any protests that they made fell on deaf ears. So, they went to work and before 9am, Rana Plaza had collapsed killing over 1100 people and injuring thousands more.
Ten years on the impact of that day lives on and those broken bones continue to plague Sharmin’s sister. These lifelong injuries limited many Rana Plaza survivors’ ability to work and earn a living income. Another survivor, Laboni, has permanent brain damage from the disaster. She has limited hearing and suffers from piercing headaches. Laboni attempted working as a garment worker again, but the constant noise was unbearable. Left without an income she came across a social enterprise hiring survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse.
They heard Laboni’s story and offered her a job sewing jute bags. This factory was different from the others. Those factories were filled with the racket of sewing machines, where people would sit for 12 hours a day for little pay. This place offered 8 hours days with a living wage, health insurance, an attendance bonus, and equal share in 20% of all profits.
Laboni took the position however, when she attempted to sew the migraines returned. She could only manage 20 minutes before her head was throbbing. What would she do? Laboni’s struggle was noticed, and she was offered a new position as a helper. She could take breaks whenever she needed and would still receive the same living wage. How different this experience was to the Rana Plaza factory where the basic safety of employees was disregarded.
Ten years on from the disaster many garment workers continue to experience unfair and dangerous work conditions due to companies putting profits first. Earth Worthy is proud to work with factories who empower and support their employees through fair pay and dignified working conditions. Every time you make an Earth Worthy purchase you are supporting people like Laboni. Survivors of a tragic and preventable disaster.