German Development Cooperation, CRP and BGMEA join hands six months after Rana Plaza

NGO News Report :: A first of its kind, an Orthotics and Prosthetics School is in the process of being established in Savar. On 23rd October 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)has been signed, six months after the tragedy of Rana Plaza.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP) and Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have joined hands to make it happen. The MoU includes several components with the intention to support people with disabilities, especially those affected by the Rana Plaza building collapse, but also other disabled people.

The ongoing GIZ project “Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards” (PSES), which already has a proven track record in improving the RMG sector in Bangladesh constitutes the framework under which the different measures of the MoU will be implemented.

These include infrastructure development to start the school, a training lab and library facilities, a faculty, curriculum development, a student exchange programme, making factories accessible for people with disabilities, job placement, and consultation.

At the signing ceremony, Germany’s Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr. Albrecht Conze praised the new initiative: “Tazreen and Rana Plaza have shaken Bangladesh and this country’s many friends across the world. For weeks and months, these accidents have made headlines in Germany. The time has come to address all issues of work place safety and adopt existing best practices all over the garment sector, through collaborative efforts, to salvage the reputation of Bangladesh’s most important industry. This tripartite MoU is aimed at helping many people to cope with their handicap and return to work. We want to give new perspectives to those who had already lost all hope of being able to sustain themselves and their families. I have seen with my own eyes what the CRP community is capable of doing for them, and I am convinced that these funds are well spent.”

“GIZ is committed to support RMG factories of Bangladesh in making their work place accessible for persons with disabilities. On this day marking six months since the Rana Plaza tragedy, we are not only working with victims involved in accidents in the sector but also with family members of victims and unskilled women with disabilities, to be trained on suitable trades. In collaboration with the private sector, these trained workers can be assured of employment.” said Olaf Handloegten, Country Director and signatory for GIZ.

The school would be an extension of the CRP’s premises. Dr. Valerie Taylor, Founder of CRP, also present at the event said, “This is a unique initiative of GIZ where the disaster response evolves into capacity building for the long term”.

Md Atiqul Islam, President of BGMEA added: “In one of our long term initiatives, we are collaborating with GIZ and CRP. I expect construction of this training institute to be completed soon. We will then have an expert pool on prosthetics and orthotics for ensuring access to factories for persons with disabilities. The RMG industry can offer various sorts of occupation for persons with disabilities and minor modification in the factories can enable persons with disabilities to work, and allow them to enjoy a decent life.”

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