Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The German Agency for Development Cooperation (GIZ) will establish a school shortly for the first time in Bangladesh to provide training to people with disabilities with special focus on Rana Plaza collapse and other ready-made garment (RMG) factory victims.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in this connection in the capital on 23 Oct, to mark six months of the Rana Plaza tragedy, among promotion of social and environmental standards in the industry (PSES), a joint project of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, implemented by the GIZ on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

As sustainable response to the recent incidents in the RMG sector, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) made funds available to support the workers suffering from temporary and permanent injuries.

“One of the areas through which this fund is being disseminated is rehabilitation and this MoU is the first step towards its implementation,” the GIZ said in a statement.

The areas that the MoU covers are: infrastructure development to start the school, a training lab and library facilities,  curriculum development, a student exchange programme, making factories accessible for people with disabilities, job placement and consultation.

 “We’re faced with many challenges and the time has come to urgently address the hindrances and adopt best practices in the garment sector, through collaborative efforts, to salvage the reputation of this industry that affect the lives and livelihoods of 4.0m workers! My earnest good wishes to this tripartite understanding to positively impact lives in the future,” Albrecht Conze, ambassador, of the Federal Republic of Germany to Bangladesh, said while speaking at the signing ceremony.

Olaf Handloegten, country director of the GIZ, said the GIZ is committed to support RMG factories of Bangladesh in making their workplace accessible for persons with disabilities.

“On this day marking 6 months since the Rana Plaza tragedy, we are not only working with victims involved in accidents in the sector but also family members of victims and unskilled women with disabilities, to be trained on suitable trades,” the GIZ country director noted.

Atiqul Islam, president of the BGMEA, expected that the construction of the training institute will be completed soon. “We’ll have an expert pool on prosthetics and orthotics for ensuring access for persons with disabilities in factories.” 

He also said RMG industry can offer various sorts of occupation for persons with disabilities and minor modification in the factories can employ persons with disabilities and allow them to enjoy a decent life.

BBN/SSR/AD-25Oct13-11:27 am (BST)