Little compensation for families affected by Rana Plaza

Nazma survived the deadly Rana Plaza collapse in April 24th 2013 and was four-months pregnant during the terrible incident. She was luckily rescued but lost her beloved husband Jewel in the collapse.

They worked in two different garment factories in Rana Plaza. Jewel was working on the second floor, where the initial crack was found, while Nazma was on the seventh when the eight-storey building crashed down at around 9am.

Junayed is a carbon-copy of his father. It’s not just in appearance. It’s even in attitude. My husband Jewel was always a jolly person. I hardly saw him upset in any issue. Even the neighbours liked Jewel very much for his amiable personality. The boy is endowed with the similar characteristics of his father,

Najneen, 22, says. The mother looked so elated having seen the little Junayed giggling at us. "See how cheerful he is!" - Nazma says.

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Nazma along with her younger brother and sister later took shelter at her uncle and aunt’s residence in Savar. Nazma hasn't forgotten those days of hardship. She lost her husband at the moment when she needed his assistance the most. She didn’t receive any money from the government or from her employer and Nazma was unsure how she would survive with her siblings.

ActionAid Bangladesh came to her assistance. "I don’t know what would happen to me if ActionAid didn’t support me with BDT 100,000 (£766). At that time they covered all my medical expenses. I didn’t have a single penny in my hand because I haven’t received anything from the garment authority except one month’s salary and 20,000 taka (£153) from the government for my husband’s funeral," Nazma says.

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Nazma still hasn’t received compensation. She smiles ironically: "I haven’t received anything yet, not even for the sake of my son. Rather the little amount of money I used to get from some individual donors in earlier months, those have also been stopped."

I was planning to start a business of ready-made cloth, but that cannot be started yet as Junayed is still very young and I need to look after him. Money is also needed for a business. I’m so grateful to my uncle and aunt that they are still bearing our cost no matter how much crisis they may face. But I don’t know how long we can go on like this. My son is growing up. He has a future. But how would I bear his cost till then? Is this called life?

Her son Junayed is 6 months old now. The baby doesn’t even know that he has lost his father forever before his birth, he doesn’t know the bitter reality his mother has been facing for a year.

"My life is full of Junayed now. My son reminds me of my husband. He is the last sign of my love. No matter what happens I will never make him to feel the absence of his father. But sometimes I become afraid - how much I can do without any financial assistance?"

As an immediate response to the collapse a high-level committee, formed under the direction of the Bangladesh High Court to look into compensation for the victims, issued recommendations. The committee proposed BDT 1.8 million (£14,000) as compensation for each family of the deceased, while BDT 1 to 1.5 million (£7,700– £11,500) for the survivors with amputations. For the survivors with complete paralysis, the committee proposedNaz BDT 2 million (£15,300). The government has also tried to negotiate with the garment factory owners and the buyers to ensure compensation for the victims.