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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 4
By Karim Mostafa
21 Apr 2014

Amjad Hussein, who worked on the fourth floor of the Rana Plaza, remembers falling and feeling an incredible pain. Then, everything went black. After having been unconscious for 11 days, he woke up with his both legs missing.

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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 5
By Karim Mostafa
21 Apr 2014

Rehanna, who had one of her legs amputated, is now getting accustomed to walking with her artificial leg at a physiotherapy clinic in Savar. 9 year-old Monira lives in the room next to her – her father also lost one of his legs in the accident.

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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 6
By Karim Mostafa
19 Apr 2014

The location where the eight-story building Rana Plaza once stood.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 12
By Karim Mostafa
17 Apr 2014

Shilpy says the employees didn't want to enter the building on the morning the building collapsed – they had seen the cracks. But the management told them it was safe, and said that if they didn't work, they salary wouldn't be paid. She is now staying at a rehabilitation clinic, getting accustomed to her new artificial leg.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 16
By Karim Mostafa
15 Mar 2014

In a small alley, not far from the hospital where victims were brought, survivors have a chance at a better future. A small factory was opened by two volunteer rescuers. Profits are divided between the employees.

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Survivors of Bangladesh Fire Struggle...
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
08 Mar 2014

They never knew the darkness of a grisly night could be a portent of another dark episode of their lives waiting ahead. The heavy air filled with smoke and heat, and the loud, terrified screams of the many people trapped inside the blazing Tazreen Fashion building were just the beginning of a drawn-out struggle survivors of the fire would still endure two years after the tragedy.

On 24 November 2012, at least 117 people burnt to death after becoming trapped behind locked exits at the Tazreen Fashion factory, which supplied clothes to global brands. Two-hundred more people were severely injured in the fire.

Those who were lucky to survive do not feel like that anymore, as they suffered serious injuries, received no compensation, and are now left without a source of income. More than one-hundred of the injured Tazreen workers face extreme hardship and struggle to bear the costs of their treatment.

Anju Ara is one of them. "Sometimes the intensity of the pain drives me mad," she said. "I break things in desperation. I wake up screaming 'fire! fire!' at night. I can't sleep."

A good number of survivors are yet to recover from the trauma of the terrible incident, having lost their mental strength permanently, not able to work in the garment sector or in any other industry. Many others could not afford proper treatment afterwards and have developed fatal health complications over the last 24 months.

The fire started on the ground floor of the nine-story factory – and while the fire was consuming the lower floor, many desperate workers were stuck on the second, third and fourth floors of the building. Finding no way out, they broke windows on the eastern side, and jumped out.

Some survivors say their new lease on life has become a curse amid the practicalities of poverty. The list of health problems among them is long. Kidney disease, backbone problems, and chest pains prevail, and many also suffer from severe post-traumatic stress and crippling fear whenever they try to sleep.

Shahnaz Begum, 36, jumped from 3rd floor of the building. “I lost an eye and I’m having backbone problems,” she said. She now has to struggle to make a living and survive two years on.

Both Hasan Mia, 30, and Mahfuza Akter, 20, jumped from the second floor and survived the deathly fire that killed their friends and co-workers. “I now suffer from psychological and mental illness. It’s hard to think of that day,” says Mia. Like her colleague, Mahfuza suffers from the same illness.

The 2012 Dhaka fire was the deadliest factory fire in Bangladesh's history. The cause was initially blamed on a short circuit, however the government later declared that it could had been an “arson attack or sabotage" due to the occurrence of previous similar events.
Because of the large amount of fabric and yarn in the factory, the fire spread quickly to other floors, burning the building for over 17 hours before the firefighters were able to extinguishing it.

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The Faces of Bangladesh Garment Workers
By Eleanor Moseman
29 Jan 2014

Bangladesh's garment industry made headlines on April 24, 2013 because of the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, a sub district of Dhaka. Even before the death of an estimated 1,100 people last April, there have been incidents before the one making headlines. In November of 2012, a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh killed at least 112 people. Charred shorts with the label of one of North America's largest retail brand was found among the remains. Only 5% of textile factories are owned by foreign investors, with most of the production being controlled by local investors. Textiles account for 80% of the country's exports.

Since the most recent deadly incident, it has become extremely difficult to obtain access to factories as most managers are very suspicious of journalists, foreign or local. In January of this year, these portraits were made at a tee-shirt factory work camp near Gazipur, north of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. The factory is only a three minute walk from the shacks these migrant workers call “home”.

These are the faces of the people, and their families, behind the tag that reads “Made In Bangladesh”. Many children and young adults have already spent nearly their entire life within these camps that are reminiscent of refugee structures. Young women are living alone, often without any family members and even absent from their husband and children. If a woman or husband is lucky enough to have their spouse present, they must reside in different areas of the camp to prevent problems arising between the sexes. Often entire families live within these camps and as the parents split day and evening shifts, because factories run 24 hours, children will take on the responsibilites of caring for the younger.

The stories of these people are very common among the people of Bangladesh. It was estimated in 2013 that approximately 4 million of the country's 156 million people are employed in the $19 billion-a-year industry. It is not only the working conditions that need to be improved, but also the living conditions that these people must go home to, to rest for the next day of work. Their living quarters are nothing more than slums with a few guards and a manager to look over the employees.

These are the faces of those that are injured, and at times die, in poor conditions to clothe the world.

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Kobirhossion
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
29 Jan 2014

Kobirhossion is 32 years old, married and with 3 kids.

Originally from Commilla, he has worked and lived here for over 12 years without any family members.

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Rokiabezom
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Rokiabezom states she is 30 years old and has been at this camp, away from her husband and one son for 7 years.

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Nurruzman
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Nurruzman, 30 years, is a new employee of this factory and has resided at this camp for only 6 months. He is alone, leaving his wife and 2 sons in his hometown of Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Talif
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Talif is 21 years old and comes from Jamalpur-Sherpur.

He is married but still has no children. He has resided at this camp for 6 years.

During his hours off he sells goods along the streets, such as sunglasses, for additional income.

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Nazma
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Nazma is 25 years old and is married with one daughter.

She resides here at the camp withoutthem, for over 6 years.

Originally from Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Daughter of Laborers Under a Dupatta
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

With such close and intimate living quarters, child care is a community effort.

This young girl will watch over the younger children as parents are absent during the day and night. (Factories run 24 hours a day.)

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Muhammed Abdulla
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Muhammed Abdulla is between the ages of 22-24 and has been in this camp for 18 years.

He’s married with one son and both reside in Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Sofik
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Sofik, 19 years old, returns from the market along the dangerous roads of Bangladesh with fresh cuts of beef for dinner.

He has been here for 2 years, alone. Originally from Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Young Girl Hangs Laundry in the Camp
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

A daughter of garment factory employees, hangs clothes to dry in the last moments of sunshine.

No matter age or gender, everyone takes on house hold responsibilities.

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Zorna and Her Husband
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Zorna is approximately 25 years old and stands next to her husband in a camp for garment workers about 100km north of Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka.

She has resided at this particular camp for over 10 years. The couple must live separated, as the men and women’s living quarters are separated to prevent problems.

They have one son that lives with family in their hometown of Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Brother and Sister of Laborers
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

A 10 year old girl holds onto the hand of her brother. The two, along with their parents and two other sisters, have lived at this camp for about 5 years. Hometown is Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Young Woman Garment Worker
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

Many Bangladeshis can only give an approximate age. This woman aged between 20 and 25, has been away from her husband and son for almost 5 years. From Jamalpur-Sherpur.

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Young Daughter of Garment Workers
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

A daughter of garment workers spends her time in the worker camp. Since both parents will be working during the day time hours, she will be looked over by the director of the camp but mostly by the other adults and older children living in this camp.

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Eighteen Year Old Laborer
Bangladesh
By Eleanor Moseman
28 Jan 2014

A young garment worker apprehensively states she is 18 years old. She has been at this camp for a couple of years and comes from the city of Rangpur.

She lives alone, separated from her parents, 1 brother and 5 sisters.

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Made in Bangladesh (13 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
01 Apr 2013

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.

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Made in Bangladesh (4 of 23)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
10 Apr 2012

Young and sometimes underaged workers in Bangladesh's garment industry.

Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for nearly 80% of the country’s exports – mainly to Europe and the United States – and therefore the single greatest source of economic growth.

An estimated number of two to three million people are employed in more than 4,000 factories all over the country, not including the thousands of sub-suppliers. About 80% of the working force are women. Although violating national law sub-suppliers often still employ children under the age of 14.

Workers are reliant on the engagement to support their families. Jobs are highly underpaid – most factories pay the maximum of 1,500-2,000 Taka (about 15 – 20 Euros) per month. Labor time is up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Several clothing buyers asked the Bangladeshi government to raise the minimum wages but factory owners argue that they will not be competitive against Vietnam, China and other big producers if they raise wages and therefore would have to close their factories and discharge all their employees.

As people are reliant on their jobs they are still willing to work even if underpaid. Continuous riots by textile workers break out – leading to short-term shutdowns and often to injuries and fatalities among workers. It is unlikely that either the international clothing companies nor the local Bangladeshi factory owners will bear the costs of raised wages.

A change of the situation will only be achieved if consumers are aware of the social inequity and put pressure on the companies involved.