Shila Begum - survivors story

published 17-04-2014 13:55, last modified 24-04-2014 07:34
At just 26 years of age Shila's life has been changed forever after being trapped in Rana Plaza. This April she joined campaigners across Europe to call on brands to Pay Up!

April 24th 2013 - the ceiling came down

Shila Begum had been working in a factory within Rana Plaza for over two years when she reluctanly entered the building on April 24th last year.  Within minutes of sitting behind her sewing machine the electricity went off and the generator kicked in. 

“I felt a shock and the floor gave way. People started running in chaos and the ceiling came down. I kept protecting my head, but I got stuck between the rubble. My hand got stuck and I thought I would die. People around died.” 

Shila lay trapped in the rubble for a full day, like many of those around her she was screaming out for help.  Finally at 5pm someone came to rescue them.

“They tried to pull the concrete plates that were on top of us. From boths side of the plates people were pulling me and they managed to get me out. [But] the weight of the concrete had pulled my uterus. At 11pm they removed my uterus completely.”

Shila, who had moved to Dhaka with her daughter in search of work after her husband died, is now unable to work due to the pain she suffers in her arm and the traumatic affects of the day. 

I need medical treatment and I have dreams for my child, so I need to earn money. The tuition fees might be low, but all the materials you need to buy, like shoes, books, uniform and the exam money comes on top of this.”

 April 2014 - speaking out

In April 2014 Shila joined the General Secretary of the National Garment Workers Federation, Safia Parvin on a tour of Europe.  In two weeks they went to the Netherlands, Italy, France and Germany and spoke with politicians, media and workers councils about her experience on that fateful day and her hopes for the future.

She called on all brands across Europe to immediately pay up, so that she and the thousands of survivors and family members can begin to rebuild their lives.

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