The miracle baby who survived Rana Plaza collapse
Naznin Nazma cradles the miracle baby boy she feared she had lost in the Bangladesh factory disaster that claimed his father.
She says five-month-old Junaid looks a lot like Jewel, the father he will never meet, who was one of 1,129 people killed when the eight-storey garment factory in Rana Plaza collapsed earlier this year, report British daily The Mirror.
“Jewel always wanted to have a baby boy and the Almighty blessed us with one,” she said in a recent interview with the daily published today.
“Junaid’s fairer than me and it’s like he’s a miniature copy of his father”.
“His little head and nose in particular remind me of Jewel.
“I feel so much pain inside when I look at my son because I miss my husband tremendously and I can’t keep control of my emotions.”
The tiny survivor brings hope after the horror – but at the same time Nazma, 21, fears for his future as the tragedy robbed her of any chance of supporting him.
This is not how she expected to be bringing up her precious son.
She and Jewel had been working hard at the factory as they saved up to start a business of their own so they would be able to provide for him properly.
Nazma was three-and-a-half months pregnant with Junaid when the Savar building collapsed in April, reports The Mirror.
She had been working on the seventh floor sewing clothes for New Wear Style Ltd while Jewel worked on the second floor for New Wave Bottoms.
The fragile structure began to crumple at 9am. Ceilings folded in on each other, trapping hundreds of workers.
Nazma was knocked unconscious, and when pulled from the rubble two hours later she was told her unborn child had survived – but Jewel had not.
She says: “It’s not just the building that’s collapsed but my whole life too.”
When rescuers called off their search for survivors three weeks later 1,129 people were dead.
Nazma told how 24 hours before the collapse, staff, who were working for companies making cheap clothes for Western customers including Primark, heard dangerous cracks had been found.
But managers ordered low-paid employees to go to work anyway and threatened to dock their pay if they stayed away.
Nazma says: “I desperately wish we hadn’t gone to the Rana Plaza that day, but we did because otherwise we would have been docked a month’s salary. This was a massive deal to us as we were saving up to start our own business.” Nearly eight months on, despite promises of compensation, Nazma has had just a £156 payout from the government – and nothing at all from her bosses.
She has vowed never to work in a clothing factory again, saying: “What guarantee would there be about whether the factory would collapse again? I have to put Junaid first – if that happened who would look after my baby? I’m all he’s got.”
Now she relies on the generosity of Britons touched by the tragedy who gave cash to the UK charity ActionAid to support her and her son. Nazma has managed so far on £780 from Action Aid.
Junaid was born on November 5 weighing 7lbs 7oz and his protective mum is determined he will have a better life.
She says: “I would never let my boy have a job at a garment factory. I want him to study and to be educated so that he’ll able to choose any job he wants. I want my boy to be the kind of person who helps people in need – like we’ve been helped.”
She hopes the disaster will lead to long-term changes in south Asian clothing factories so no other families go through the hell she has suffered.
She says: “The factory owners shouldn’t be allowed to forget this and must take the necessary safety measures. If they don't, what size tragedy would have to take place to make them pay attention?”