Meher Afroz Chumki

The Department of Women Affairs (DWA), under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) of the government of Bangladesh has established new barrier free training facilities at the Shahid Sheikh FazilatunnessaMujib Women’s Training Academy in Jirani, Gazipur.

In collaboration with the GIZ-implemented ‘Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry’ (PSES), a joint programme of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, the new training facilities were inaugurated on the 15thof April 2014 by the Honourable State Minister for the MoWCA, Meher Afroze Chumki, MP.

“The lack of qualified workers and mid-level managers, including workers with disabilities, is a key constraint to the growth and diversification of Bangladesh’s export-oriented RMG sector. The Government of Bangladesh is happy to join hands with the German Development Cooperation in aiming to achieve optimal results through the establishment of the new training facilities,” said the Honourable Minister.

Equipped with eight new additional class rooms (1 conference room, 1 teacher’s room,4 production rooms,1 merchandising,pattern-makingand design room as well as 1counseling room), this training centrenow offers inclusive skills development trainings for sewing operators and floor supervisors to women workers, including workers with disabilities in the Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh. The premises have also been re-constructed to allow barrier free access and an inclusive environment for all trainees. All trainers at this center have successfully participated in a trainingto implement the concept of disability inclusion based on international standards and equal opportunities in skills training settings.

RoswithaAmels, First Secretary, Deputy Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy,praising the innovative approach of inclusive skills development offered at this training centre said, “German Development Cooperation considers the inclusion of persons with disabilities as a crucial concern and Bangladesh is one of the pilot countries where it is being initiated.”

PSES in joint collaboration with the MoWCA has been running this training centresince September 2009. It was initially set up to offer training on sewing operation to disadvantaged women from the rural areas in order to provide them with adequate jobs in the RMG sector. The training program was later complemented by a sewing floor supervisor training.More than 1,500 women have been trained in the two-month demand-driven technical courses so far. 96% of the graduates have been successfully employed in the RMG sector after the training.In addition, the inclusive skills development trainings represent an opportunity for Rana Plaza collapse victims for their rehabilitation and reintegration in better jobs.

“One of GIZ’s core intervention areas is skills development. We are happy to contribute to these basic and advanced trainings for women RMG workers, including workers with disabilities. We think, that the extensive and demand driven training packages will contribute to higher productivity and better working conditions in the factories. 1,500 women workers will be trained. Out of them more than 200 workers with disabilities will get an adequate job in the RMG sector during the next 15 months.” said Magnus Schmid, Program Coordinator, PSES, GIZ.

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