Rehabilitation activities for survivors of the factory building collapse in Savar, Bangladesh

In the morning of April 24th 2013, the nine-storied Rana Plaza factory building collapsed. The collapsed building was housing up to eight garment factories. According to estimates, 3,122 garment workers, mostly women, were inside the building at the time of the collapse but numbers may have been much higher in reality. A three-week long rescue operation found 1,129 dead bodies and thousands of workers missing. Officially, 2,437 workers were rescued. Among them, 600 have been severely injured in this tragedy and were admitted to surrounding hospitals. Among the injured garment workers were many who have lost limbs and now face a live as amputees.

Immediately after the tragic occurrence, HOPE’87 delegated a local team of first aid workers, including 20 specially trained volunteers, to support Bangladesh’s military forces in rescuing injured people, as well as removing dead bodies from the site.

After the rescue activities, the situation proved to be most challenging for the survivors of the tragedy. Female garment workers who have survived the Savar building collapse were reluctant and often physically unable to go back to their previous work in a garment factory. However, as they were forced to maintain their livelihood for the survival of their family, they strived to find an alternative income generating activity that fitted their physical condition. HOPE’87 Bangladesh, with support of the “Foundation UNESCO – Education for children in need”, supported some of these young women.

Two young women who have lost limbs as debris and walls crashed down on them, were provided high quality arm and leg prothesis to help them get back to a “normal” life. Other activities for survivors of the Savar incident included the provision of small grants to start income generating activities outside of the garment industry, as well as education and livelihood support for children who lost one or both of their parents in Savar.

Project Background: 

At present, there are more than 2,100 garment factories in Bangladesh employing more than 1.2 million people. 85% of the labour force are women. Since 2005, more than 1,500 textile workers in Bangladesh have died in fire incidents and building collapses. Thousands of people – many of them young women – work in appalling and unsafe conditions in factories which supply western companies with cheap clothing. An assessment of HOPE’87 Bangladesh has found that the economic condition of the female garment workers is significantly poor with an average monthly income of only 40 EUR. This money is often the only source of income for the whole family (average family size is around 5 people). It was observed that more than 80% of the female workers are the single earners of their family.

Project Type

Humanitarian Aid, Reconstruction, relief and rehabilitation

Project Duration

24/04/2013 to 31/10/2013






Savar and Dhaka


Foundation UNESCO – Education for Children in Need, HOPE'87