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Video of the Day
A Day In The Life Of A Garment Worker In Bangladesh
August 18, 2013
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About four million people work in Bangladesh's clothing factories. This video, created by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, tells the story of one of those garment workers, Parul Begem, through the lens of an average day in her life.

Begem works at the Aplus clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is one of almost 2,000 workers, most of whom are women, employed at the factory. They work 12 hours a day, stitching, ironing or packaging shirts.

Employees work in lanes of 100 stations, with 19 lanes to a floor. The air is dusty with lint, so the workers wear masks, and if they are late for work three times, Aplus docks a day's pay.

But Begem and her friends "consider themselves lucky" to be working at Aplus, according to Trust.org.

garment-worker-bangladesh-side.jpgIt's considered a "top factory," where workers earn overtime, are allowed to take annual vacation and maternity leave. Begem has a lot of experience working in clothing factories: she started at 14 when she moved to Dhaka. She's 39 now.

Still, she says her salary - at $63 a month, 66 per cent above the basic industry wage - is barely enough to make ends meet.

Begem and her co-workers heard about the April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory, which killed more than 1,100 people.

"When you hear something like this it obviously creates panic," she told Trust.org. "But we can't leave the job just because of this."

To read more about the clothing industry in Bangladesh and "the growing empowerment of Bangladesh's female garment workers," check out this piece by Margaret Evans from CBC News.

And for a glimpse at the painful stories of some of the workers who survived the Rana Plaza collapse - many of whom lost close friends and family in the process - there's this piece by NPR's Julie McCarthy.


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