In 2016, together with our partner Save the Children, and as a part of our strengthening communities programme, we began supporting an initiative in Bangladesh to provide youth with training in corporate social responsibility and vocational training through the SUF vocational training centre. As a result of the training participants have more success finding employment. Strengthening communities is an integral part of our mission to make fashion a force for good as we recognise that our mission must go beyond the fashion industry and into the communities that are most affected by the fashion industry.
Nipa Akter is an IT graduate from the SUF vocational training centre. She is from the Rajbari district of Dhaka. Her father is a farmer, but unable to do work due to a disability and her mother is a housewife. She has three brothers and two sisters.
Nipa’s family moved to Dhaka when she was 11 years old. At the age of 13, her parents arranged for her to be married. As a young married couple, they found it quite challenging to make ends meet every month. During this time, Nipa’s parents were also struggling to pay for her education. Nipa recognised this and decided to do something about it. She started to receive a loan to continue her studies, but unfortunately, they still did not earn enough to cover the family’s expenses, and she was forced to drop out of after completing her Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC).
A light at the end of the tunnel
Nipa applied for jobs, but without further qualifications, she was unsuccessful in her search for a job. In 2018, she learned about the SUF vocational training centre. She was excited to hear that the opportunity to be trained and felt as if she had found a ray of hope. She enrolled in the Information Technology course for the April-June 2018 session and completed the training to receive her certificate.
Becoming an IT instructor
In June 2018, Nipa applied for a position of IT instructor at a school near where she lived called “Shahid Faruk Girls High School.” After being interviewed for the positions finally, Nipa received a job offer. Nipa joined at the Shahid Faruk Girls High School” as an IT instructor in July 2018, with a monthly salary of BDT 8,000 (equivalent to USD 100). Nipa is now very happy. She is proud to be able to provide for her family in Dhaka, and her mother no longer has to work. With the support of both her family and her husband, Nipa is happy and dreams of one day opening her a training centre.
This initiative began in 2016 to fight the growing problem of child labour in Bangladesh by providing underprivileged youth in Bangladesh with vocational training that is currently not available to them in the current education system. In the 2 years since the programme has been operating over two thousand youth have successfully completed their vocational skills, and almost 2 thousand have become employed. The programme has also trained 986 youth on entrepreneurship skills and 539 have gone on to start their own business.