Proyash day care centre initiative ensured safety for garment workers’ children and increased productivity
Rina Akter was over the moon when she became mother for the first time.
After watching the face of her baby girl, all the sadness of Rina, a garment worker in Dhaka’s Mirpur area, had disappeared.
She used to spend all her days talking, singing and playing with the baby girl until returning to work after a six-month maternity leave.
In the beginning of the return, Rina used to be late to join in work and could not concentrate on her duty thinking of her daughter Nuha.
Even few months later, the 21-year-old woman decided to resign after some consecutive absences in work, because she did not have any option to keep the baby in a safe place during work hours. Besides, there was no day care centre at her workplace.
But Rina did not have to resign as a day care centre was launched at her factory, few weeks after she had been facing the difficulties.
The day care centre, introduced by Save the Children through its project titled Proyash, gave her daughter a safe environment, which was free of cost. At the same time, it helped Rina to be tension-free and increased her productivity.
Along with Proyash — an urban risk reduction project implemented by Social and Economic Enhancement Program (SEEP) and funded by C&A Foundation — a non-government organisation named Phulki also supported to set up the day care centre.
“I brought my mom in Dhaka after the birth of Nuha to take care of my baby girl, but she left few months later. The situation was like — Nuha would have to stay at home alone if I don’t be absent,” said Rina.
“Then, I fall into a big trouble and became very worried thinking that where will I keep my daughter during work hours as Nuha’s father do a job and stay out of home mostly,” she said, a sewing machine operator of Evince Garments Limited in Mirpur.
“But all my worries came to an end when I got the day care centre facility. Now I can keep my daughter there without having any tension,” she said. “I can work more comfortably which I couldn’t before,” she added.
“Even, I can come to see her during my breaks as the day care centre is situated at the downstairs of my office. I feel like that I am working all the day keeping my daughter with me. Everything became possible for Proyash,” said Rina.
Like her, many working mothers of Evince and other two garment factories in Savar — Quazi Abedin Tex Limited and JK Group — felt relieve after getting the day care facilities.
In 2016, Proyash introduced a mechanism of day care centre at the garment factories, and then provided support to the authorities of the factories to run the centres, said Yeakub Hossain, coordinator of the project.
“The aim of the initiative was to support the mothers among the garment workers so that they can ensure safety for their kids and increase their productivity,” he said.
In the day care centres, the babies get very good care and lesson from the caregivers through games and different cultural and educational activities.
Mariam Begum Momtaz, supervisor of the day care centre at Evince Garments Limited, said the kids would lead a monotonous life and their mental development would not be appropriate, if they were kept at home alone or under care of maidservants.
“The kids can spend a very good time staying in a homelike environment at our centre. They can also learn many things as we provide them pre-school education here,” she said.
“We keep the kids until their mothers’ works were finished. And at least two caregivers regularly take care of them by turn, roughly from 8:00am to 9:00pm,” she added.
Syed Shahidujjaman, manager (compliance) of Evince Garments Limited, said both the parties — the factory authorities (including the owner), and the workers — became benefitted thorough the day care initiative that kept the babies well and safe.
“The Proyash authority gave us a lot of logistic supports to set up the day care centre. I congratulate them for such remarkable contribution,” he said adding that they will continue the centre thinking of betterment of the kids and the workers.