I recently read an article that dealt with the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, and what has been done to create more transparency in the garment industry. I wanted to share a little bit about this article with you before I introduce one of our Bangladesh artisans, Sajeda.
On April 24, 2013, the deadliest disaster in the garment industry occurred in Bangladesh when the eight-story Rana Plaza building outside Dhaka collapsed. The building housed 5 garment factories that manufactured goods for major retail companies in Europe and North America. More than 1,100 people were killed, and many more were injured. No one knew which companies were sourcing clothing from the building, and investigators actually had to go through the ruins to collect the clothing labels so they could hold those brands accountable.
Bagladesh has the second largest garment industry behind China, and the industry accounts for 12% of its GDP. There are many issues with transparency in the supply chain that result in dangerous working conditions going unchecked. Unfortunately, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign, only 17 of 72 apparel and footwear companies have agreed to implement the Transparency Pledge by the end of this year. The Transparency Pledge aims to set minimum standards for publishing supply chain information.
Despite this, Trades of Hope has been able to make a difference in Bangladesh through partnering with an artisan group there and providing a marketplace in the US for their beautiful products. One of the artisans in this group is Sajeda.
Sajeda is married, but could not see her husband often due to his work at a brick factory in another village. Sajeda wanted to help contribute to her family’s household income, and decided to develop a skill in embroidery. After developing this skill, she met an artisan partnering with Trades of Hope and was able to join the artisan group. She is now the supervisor over all embroidery and has even learned how to craft jute handles and scarves. As a result of her success in this group, she has been able to send her children to school and has saved enough money to send her husband to Dubai for a better job. According to Sajeda, “Now I have no fear…. I am fully self-reliant.” She has become an Empowered woman.
The Safari Sunset Scarf is only one of the beautiful products this artisan group creates. Made of 100% silk and covered in tribal shapes, it’s a unique scarf to wear and I love being able to share the Empowering story behind it. These women take enormous pride in their work and are beautiful pillars of strength for their families and communities.