In the last of her diary entries JEAN LAMBERT reports from a centre which provides secure employment and living wages for women who have lost their livelihoods
They aren’t new, have been going for over 40 years now, and so I was very keen to see how they are progressing and meet some of the workers there.
Many of their items are made from jute, a natural fibre, and recycled materials. Incidentally, jute is one of Bangladesh’s main export materials and is grown in great abundance and very successfully here in part due to the incredibly fertile soil.
I went to one of Corr’s centres in Jagaroni, which is in Dhaka. This centre especially looks to employ women who might have lost husbands and therefore struggle terribly for their livelihoods. I was told by one craftswoman that earning an income has given her a voice in her family and community.
Hearing the sincerity in her words was proof of the success of the centre and of their philosophy.
They also provide work for women with disabilities — there were a few women with profound hearing impairments and others with no speaking ability, so the work that this centre does means that they are given a chance to earn their own income.
In a trip that took in many commitments, I’ve been able to see what progress has been made but more importantly what else needs to be done to achieve better relationships and help trade to continue with worker safety and rights paramount.
In this working visit that included shipbreaking, garment factories and artisan craftswomanship, I am focused now on coming back to the European Parliament and getting on with my work.
One of my main priorities is the Rana Plaza fund and putting pressure on companies to pay into it with no excuse and, as I said in my first diary entry, this would already be two years too late.
In a few hours’ time I will be straight in Parliament to chair a meeting of the South Asia delegation where I will report back. For now, though, a sincere thank you to the Morning Star for running my diary entries.
Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, is in Bangladesh this week as chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with south Asia.