Meet Reba, an 18-Year-Old Survivor of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza Collapse

Reba Sikder, Bangladesh, Judy Gearhart, International Labor Rights Forum, Rana Plaza, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, sweatshops, sweatshop workers, sweatshop labor, human rights, workers rights, Kalpona Akter, Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity

Photo by Andrew Biraj for Reuters

TRAPPED FOR DAYS

Initially, Reba was pinned under a machine and couldn’t move. She heard a coworker crying out near her. He was bleeding badly and she talked to him, telling him she was sorry she couldn’t help him because she couldn’t move. They talked to each other for a while and before he died, he passed her his cellphone. When she woke up, she saw on the cellphone that a day and a half had gone by. Now she tried again to see if she could free herself.

PHOTOS | AP Photographer’s Haunting Portraits of Rana Plaza’s Amputee Survivors

After some time, she succeeded. Her journey out took another day and night and the tragedy she witnessed is even more unspeakable—she passed out from what she saw, woke up desperate for something to drink, and accepted a coworker’s urine.

Reba passed out from what she saw, woke up desperate for something to drink, and accepted a coworker’s urine.

Finally, a worker, who had no hope of escaping from where she was pinned, pointed the way out. Reba continues to have continuing pains in her ankles and back and regular nightmares, but she doesn’t complain. Since the building collapse, all she has received is the equivalent of $519 (about seven months of her previous earnings) and some classes in tailoring.

The money has already gone to food and medical bills. She hopes to buy a sewing machine and move back to her home village to set up a tailor shop.

Since home-based sewing is how my Italian grandmother helped keep her family afloat during the Great Depression, I gave Reba funds to buy a machine when she returns to Bangladesh. But there are thousands of others, many of whom sustained much more serious injuries than Reba and the resources committed so far are thin.

Reba Sikder, Bangladesh, Judy Gearhart, International Labor Rights Forum, Rana Plaza, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, sweatshops, sweatshop workers, sweatshop labor, human rights, workers rights, Kalpona Akter, Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity

THE ORPHANS’ PLACE

Five global clothing brands and retailers have just announced that they are the first to contribute to a new fund raising $40 million for victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse. The Children’s Place, one of the largest children’s clothing companies in the United States with over 1,123 stores, still has not contributed to the fund.

The Children’s Place, one of the largest clothing companies in the United States, still has not contributed to the fund.

Please show your support for Reba by sharing our petition at www.orphansplace.com and calling on The Children’s Place to do right by the injured workers and the children who were orphaned by the Rana Plaza building collapse.

VIDEO | Rana Plaza Disaster Victims Still Need Compensation

Until The Children’s Place pays up, Reba and the thousands of other survivors and family members will continue to wait for their full and fair compensation.

Learn more about the International Labor Forum’s campaigns, including the Global Day of Action on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy on April 24, by following it on Facebook and Twitter.

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