Anglican Alliance, an Anglican Communion relief and development agency, reports that an appeal launched by Church of Bangladesh with the Alliance in September has raised US $16,000 for garment workers and their families who suffered as a result of the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh in April last year. More than 1,000 people were killed.
According to the release, some families lost their sole income-earner in the disaster and yet did not receive financial support in the following months; the church used the funds donated by Anglicans around the world to help families most in need, in addition to providing food, water and medication in the immediate aftermath.
The statement from the Alliance added that Bishop Paul Sarker, moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, has led the distribution of financial support and resources and continues to fight for the rights of garment workers.
The appeal has helped the church to offer some long-term supports to affected families to help them secure alternate sources of income. The release cited the situation of a worker named Yeanoor as an example. She was injured and required major surgery; still unfit for work, she is unlikely to return to work in the garment industry, it said. Expressing her thanks, Yeanoor said she plans to invest money she has received in a small business. “That will help me and my family overcome our frustration and uncertainty.”
The Anglican Alliance also created a campaign for justice for garment workers, which was used by churches and individuals in Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.
Bangladesh is the second-largest garments exporter in the world, with around 4.2 million people employed in the industry. The garment industry provides more than 80 per cent of the country’s total export earnings, and 13 per cent of the GDP, according to the Alliance report.