This spring, another 101 women have graduated from KappAhl’s training centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 100 of them have already moved into employment as seamstresses, thereby giving them the opportunity to improve their lives.
A study that is being conducted by the Stockholm School of Economics shows how important the training programme is.
The graduation ceremony at the training centre in Dhaka is as dignified as it is colourful.
“It is a spectacular event to behold. The women dress in their finest saris for the certificate award ceremony which is the culmination of their three-month seamstress education that includes practical learning too,” says Eva Kindgren de Boer, who manages sustainability projects at KappAhl.
No less than 742 women have now completed the education. A study being conducted by the Stockholm School of Economics clearly shows that the education plays a major role in the lives of these women. This spring, the study will be examining the impacts of the education on the women.
“At payday, you’ve forgotten all the difficulties”
The study includes interviews with 25 women, who all say that the education has been life-changing for them.
“If you don’t have any money of your own, you’re worth nothing, especially if you’re a woman,” says one of the women who was interviewed.
“Life is really tough for a seamstress in Bangladesh. Long days and overtime are the rule rather than the exception. And in our country, running the household is definitely still regarded as the woman’s role. But when payday comes, you’ve forgotten all the difficulties,” says one of the women.
A third woman says, with a hint of irony, that it is “a blessing for the man to have a wife who provides for the family”.
The interviews also reveal that all the women have become skilful seamstresses who are now earning more than they did when they began. Furthermore, the women say that the factories in which they work feel safe and have efficient systems for fire drills and other procedures. They also feel they are able to discuss any work-related problems with their managers and that they are usually allowed time-off if needed. In addition, the interviews show that many of the women have been able to send their children to school, support their parents and provide for family members who require medical care.
“We are really pleased that this study is being carried out and that it clearly establishes just how important our training centre is. The study will provide us with important guidance when we are evaluating the training course and planning its future content,” says Eva Kindgren de Boer.
Posted by Annakarin Thelin