“Trigger for a better future”

NGO News Desk :: Commemoration of the 3rdanniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse: “Trigger for a better future”. After the Rana Plaza building collapse on 24 April 2013, Germany made funds available for the rehabilitation of the survivors, as well as the family members of the deceased garment workers from the tragic incident. This programme was implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) and other NGO partners, who jointly commemorated the third anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse at the CRP premises in Mirpur on 24 April 2016.

In the presence of Ms Nasrin Ara Surat Amin, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs; Mr IkhtiyarAsnalov, Head of Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Bangladesh;Mr. Faruque Hassan, Senior Vice President, BGMEA and other guests, they presented findings of a research on the current health and socio-economic statuses of the supported 515 Rana Plaza survivors. Two separate researches were conducted on this particular issue. One of them was done by GIZ in collaboration with CRP and four other NGOs on 515 Rana Plaza survivors, and the other one was conducted by CRP alone on 509 individuals.

Till date, 509 survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse have been provided with treatment and 390 people with vocational training. It was revealed at the event that the majority of the supported Rana Plaza survivors are currently engaged in entrepreneurial businesses earning a substantial amount for their livelihoods. According to the survey, 71 per cent of the respondent of Rana Plaza survivors are earning at present, most of whom are running their own business, while six per cent have gone back to the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) industry. About 13 per cent of the respondents are currently jobless because of their fragile mental health. GIZ intends to support these marginalised people through CRP’s Inclusive Job Centre located in Mirpur.

In his speech, Mr Shafiqul Islam, Executive Director, CRP, emphasised on emergency rehabilitation support and long-term socio-economic reintegration assistance to the Rana Plaza survivors. CRP is committed to continue the need-based support as per the recent study findings.

So far BGMEA has spent Tk 15 Crore (approximately) for salary, treatment and rehabilitation of the victims of Rana Plaza collapse.

Dr Jochen Weikert, Programme Coordinator, GIZ, said, ‘‘We are glad to find out that most of the 515 survivors we supported together with our partners found their livelihoods and social inclusion. Now we use our learnings from the last three years to give hopeto other people with disabilities. With the establishment of an Inclusive Job Centre, we expand our work towards an inclusive workforce and equal opportunities in the RMG industry in Bangladesh.’’

A panel discussion followed by a discussion session gave the audience an opportunity to get an overview of the current statuses of the people affected by the Rana Plaza building collapse. Participants also included representatives from CRP’s Prosthetics and Orthotics department, different vocational training initiatives and organisations of people with disabilities who discussed their experiences with the guests.

Bookmarks containing stories and photos of Rana Plaza survivors were circulated among the guests. These bookmarks illustrated the efforts of GIZ, CRP andGanaUnnayan Kendra(GUK) over the last three years.

Currently the textile industry in Bangladesh offers many employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, considerably improving their circumstances by enabling them to participate in society. At the same time, there is an urgent need for suitably trained personnel in the industry.

Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES), a joint project of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, is addressing this situation with an “Inclusive Job Centre” that matches persons with disabilities who are prepared to work in the textile industry with suitable training opportunities and employment. This project is implemented by GIZ, which works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).PSES targets factories interested in employing persons with disabilities and helps find individuals filling up relevant vacancies.

Inclusive Job Centre’s professionals have already assessed 220 persons with disabilities in the last four months. Among the assessed 38 were placed in employment in the RMG factories and six were placed in vocational skills training. Inclusive Job Centre has supported the Rana Plaza survivors in their employment in the RMG factories.

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