On One-Year Anniversary of Rana Plaza Disaster in Bangladesh, CARE Honors Victims with Continued Commitment to Worker Safety & Empowerment
April 23, 2014
(April 23, 2014) — On the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse that killed 1,135 people and injured 2,500 more in Bangladesh, the poverty-fighting organization CARE stands in solidarity with the victims, their families and garment factory workers across Bangladesh. Today we must remember not only those who perished but also the deplorable conditions that led to their deaths. Workers were asked to return to a building with known structural flaws, even after other businesses had been evacuated. Equally troubling is that a year later victims still have not received adequate compensation. Many families lost their only source of income, plunging them further into poverty.
Today is also about assuring a tragedy like Rana Plaza never happens again. For its part, CARE pledges to continue using its expertise and influence to promote the rights and the empowerment of garment workers in Bangladesh, the overwhelming majority of whom are women. Our experience has shown that training women in their rights and skills such as financial literacy improves their ability to negotiate improvements in safety and wages. The experience of these female garment factory workers will be CARE’s guide as we work with organizations such as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the Ethical Trading Initiative.
In Bangladesh, CARE is currently working with more than 2 million garment workers in the RMG sector through its three initiatives- SEEMA, PACE and GWEEI in partnership with factory management, affiliated ministries of the Government of Bangladesh, I/NGOS, local-level workforce associations and international bodies such as the European Union, Walmart Foundation and GAP Inc.
CARE believes that women workers can attain empowerment through sustained changes in terms of their agency and the structures and relationship they have interface with. Through all three initiatives, CARE in Bangladesh provides training on communication, literacy, financial literacy, hygiene, reproductive health, gender awareness/sensitivity and leadership to help female garment workers attain their full potential and advance in the workplace and in their personal life.
CARE also calls on other actors — retailers, factory owners, nongovernmental organizations, unions and the government of Bangladesh — to make good on their own commitments to improve overall working conditions and factory safety. There has been progress over the past year but not nearly enough. Without full follow through, these commitments are no better than the fatally flawed foundation of the Rana Plaza building itself.
CARE Bangladesh Country Director Jamie Terzi is willing to do media interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact CARE Bangladesh Advocacy & Communications Coordinator: Anahita Ahmed (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Humaira Aziz, Director- Women Empowerment, CARE Bangladesh (Humaira@bd.care.org)
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