Bangladesh’s garment workers are now encouraged to get an education. One of the first lessons garment makers learn is that this job is a tedious, repetitive process with little margin for error.
According to an estimate, 60 to 80% of Bangladesh’s garment workers who create outfits for outlets like Target, Marks & Spencer, Walmart, Next, Gap, and H & M are women.
While men have traditionally been trained to take on management positions, this educational gap indicated that girls were destined to work at factory jobs in unsafe conditions for low wages because they had no other option.
The Asian University for Women (AUW), launched a program, Pathways for Promise. This program seeks to change that mentality by identifying women who are academically sound and providing them with both a stipend and an education that reduce the burden of financial obligations and gives them the freedom to study well.
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While this initiative met with some initial skepticism, it has increased acceptance in the country.
The impact they can have on being an example in the community and propelling others to follow suit is much more impressive and persuasive. Being the first one has a way of altering the pathways of the family.Kamal Ahmed, University founder
Nearly 470 students have enrolled in this program since it was founded. 430 students matriculated to AUW’s Access Academy pre-college prep program out of the 470 students that enrolled. As of last year May, the first class of 25 students graduated.
While this program aims to empower talented through education, the greater picture is about breaking a systemic pattern that has long existed in the country. These graduates bring change to the garment industry.