**Please note that this funding site only accepts US currency. For any other type of donations please contact us on our Facebook page and other arrangements can be made to send funds directly to Bangladesh**
On April 24th 2013, an eight-story commercial building, Rana Plaza, collapsed in Savar, a sub-district in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The search for the dead ended on 13 May with the death toll of 1,127. Approximately 2,500 injured people were rescued from the building alive. This is the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history. For those who lost loved ones in this terrible accident their grief and suffering is unimaginable and there can be no monetary value placed on those lives. For the hundreds of people who are critically injured in the collapse their struggle to rebuild their lives is just beginning. The responses from the Western retailers who contracted out of Rana Plaza have been mixed however the government of Bangladesh has promised to provide free medical care and a lump sum to each injured worker of approximately one month’s wages, about $50 US. There are many NGO’s and other humanitarian groups that are working to address this injustice by providing medical assistance, including much needed prosthetics for those who have lost limbs. This project is of a smaller scale intending to raise money for the rehabilitation of approximately 12-15 people that we are in direct contact with.
I went to South Asia in 1969 for my Ph.D. research and have continued to travel to the subcontinent almost every year to research and teach. I visited Bangladesh in 1972 and on my fourth trip, in 2001, met Dostogir Harun. Although Harun was still a student, he saved money from tutoring students to provide scholarships to children in his village. As soon as I read about the collapse of Rana Plaza, I asked Harun what he thought would be the most effective way to help. Having been involved in the rescue efforts and visited survivors in the hospital, he immediately wrote about two women, both amputees, who needed to find ways to support their families. Both wanted to return to their villages and acquire sewing machines so they could begin earning a living. When I told him I thought we could help more than two women, he visited the hospitals and interviewed 15 people who have plans for the future.
Geraldine Forbes is a Distinguished Teaching Professor Emerita in the Department of History and Women’s Studies program at the State University of New York Oswego.