This initiative gave tools to five daughters of garment workers aged between 7 and 15 to explain their daily lives in a short-film documentary. Over 4 days in March 2017 they compiled enough material to raise awareness on crucial issues like the supply chain transparency and the need for empowerment of women and girls.
Remember the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka? When this tragedy occurred, many media published stories condemning the subhuman conditions of the garment workers, until then overlooked. Now it’s been almost 5 years and we see that little has been done in spite of all the rhetoric by businesses and governments. The stories told by journalists have not had the expected impact BUT… what is the result when the power of storytelling is in the hands of the people in the field?
Having the girls as the directors and protagonists of the film allows viewers to understand the challenges in their lives. It shows how the seemingly harmless appearance of 5 girls can be transformed into an advocacy weapon, as the documentary is being screened in many cities around the globe.
Today, there are people that know the story of Hafiza, whose mother works in a garment factory but fell ill. This unfortunate situation has left all care responsibilities for the family to the young girl, who also takes care of her younger brother. They can’t watch TV at home as her mother suffers from a hearing problem caused by noise pollution in the factory. Through this video journalism project, not only she is able to gain confidence to speak publicly for the first time during the documentary screening in Dhaka, but she has also been able to develop a close friendship with other girls in the programme, and to acquire digital and filmmaking skills which can help her in her future career. Unfortunately, Bangladesh is only one of the many countries impacted by unfair garment production so this project could be replicated in other countries such as India, Indonesia and Cambodia to scale up its impact.