Brac USA, the North American affiliate of Brac, has announced a multi-year fundraising initiative to ensure that progress continues on humanitarian aid and support for workers in the country’s readymade garment industry.
Based in Bangladesh the US chapter of the non-government organisation (NGO) in a press release today says it has already raised more than $5 million, including support from Walmart, Asda, Walmart Foundation, The Children’s Place and The Gap Foundation, and the fund will be directed to three specific programme areas.
The areas are: support for the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund; continued support for Brac’s work to provide counseling and rehabilitation to garment workers; and a reserve that can be used to support a “social safety net” for workers impacted by other tragedies such as the Tazreen factory fire in 2012.
“Bangladesh has seen significant gains in living standards, halving poverty rates in the last 20 years, thanks largely to women’s empowerment. The garment industry has played a tremendous role in this,” reads the press note quoting Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of Brac.
“But these gains will mean little if we allow tragedies like Rana Plaza to continue. The words ‘Made in Bangladesh’ should be a mark of pride, not shame,” Sir Abed adds.
The Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund works with its first major grant this week: a $2.2 million donation to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund, which supports victims of the Rana Plaza disaster and their families, who are receiving payments coordinated under a single approach through the Rana Plaza Arrangement.
— BRAC (@BRACworld) March 26, 2014
With the International Labor Organisation serving as neutral chair, the Rana Plaza Arrangement is overseen by a Coordination Committee established in November 2013 by a multi-stakeholder coalition of government, employers, workers, retailers and civil society.
Brac USA’s Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund seeks to address victim needs and garment worker safety concerns in part by contributing a portion of every gift to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund.
— Susan Davis (@SusanDavisBRAC) March 26, 2014
“These global industry leaders and foundations contributed to Brac USA’s fund based on Brac’s deep history and community roots in Bangladesh, and on Brac USA's strong commitment to a long-term solution and its high standards in grant making, monitoring and reporting,” said Susan Davis, President and CEO of Brac USA.
“The Rana Plaza tragedy was a wake-up call for the world that shocked our collective conscience,” Davis adds.
“Even eleven months after Rana Plaza, more support needs to be provided to victims and their families. Delays have taken place for a variety of reasons, but rather than looking back, we’re moving forward on common ground, and with a clear message: A better path is possible, and we can help create it.”