BRAC USA Calls on Donors to Close Rana Plaza Victims’ Funding Gap

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On the two-year anniversary of Rana Plaza, the fund for victims of the 2013 Bangladesh factory collapse is still $3 million short of what is needed for fair compensation

Minu Aktar Rana Plaza

Six months on: Rana Plaza survivor Minu Aktar looks to new future

“Bangladesh has seen significant gains in living standards, halving poverty rates in the last 20 years... The garment industry has played a tremendous role in this.”

BRAC USA, the North American affiliate of the Bangladesh-based anti-poverty organization BRAC, is calling on donors to close the $3 million dollar funding gap to reach the $30 million needed to compensate victims of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse.

BRAC USA has welcomed several new contributions this week, including a pledge by The Children’s Place to match donations up to $2 million to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund. But more is needed, the organization says.

When the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed on April 24, 2013, more than 1,100 garment workers died and more than 2,500 were injured, many severely. In 2014, on the one-year anniversary of the event, BRAC USA, a 501(c)3, created the Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund to provide aid to survivors and support for workers in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment industry. Donations earmarked for the Rana Plaza Donors Trust can be directed through BRAC USA.

“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,” Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC, said at the time of the fund’s creation. “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.”

The Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund accepts donations to support Bangladesh garment workers from corporations, foundations and the general public.

The Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund supports survivors and victims’ families with direct payments given through the Rana Plaza Donors Trust, as well as through support provided via BRAC, whose programs for Rana Plaza victims include prosthetics for amputees, counseling, psycho-social support, livelihood training, long-term medical support, and seed capital for survivors to start new businesses.

To date, BRAC USA’s Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund has raised $5.43 million, with donors including Walmart, Asda, Walmart Foundation, The Children’s Place, The Gap Foundation, and VF Foundation. From these contributions, BRAC USA has granted $2,205,000 to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust, with another $275,000 grant forthcoming.

The Rana Plaza Donors Trust was set up in January 2014 under the Rana Plaza Arrangement, a multi-stakeholder coalition of government, employers, workers, retailers and civil society, with the International Labor Organization serving as neutral chair.

Meanwhile, BRAC University’s Institute of Educational Development is pursuing systemic long-term solutions to the problems of workplace safety in the Bangladesh garment industry. It is conducting a mapping study to cover the vast network of garment factories and subcontractors in need of building upgrades to meet safety standards.

ABOUT BRAC

BRAC, a development organization founded in Bangladesh in 1972, is a global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty. With more than 100,000 employees, it is the world's largest non-governmental organization, touching the lives of an estimated 135 million people in 11 countries using a wide array of antipoverty tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more. BRAC University in Dhaka is a hub of higher learning with more than 6,000 students enrolled. Learn more at BRAC.net.

ABOUT BRAC USA

BRAC USA is an independent, US-based affiliate of BRAC formed in 2006 to advance and support BRAC's global mission to create opportunities to unleash human potential and end poverty. Learn more at BRACusa.org.

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Scott MacMillan
BRAC USA
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