Aleya, One Rana Plaza Survivor’s Story from Abir Abdullah

20-year-old Aleya, survivor of the Rana Plaza Building collapse, has already tried to return to work, but was too traumatized by the collapse that she couldn’t stay.

20-year-old Aleya was on the 6th floor of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, working as a machine operator on April 24. She heard a huge sound and she tried to move away from her machine. Suddenly, she realized that the building was collapsing. Within minutes, she was trapped between a small gap formed between floors. She spent four hours beneath the rubble, before being rescued.

Aleya has already tried to return to work, taking a job in the Dada Garment Factory, but did not last a single day. She is traumatized by her experience in the Rana Plaza building, and was too afraid to stay. She will need counseling to go on with her life, something she does not currently have access to. She went to a local, free clinic for survivors, but they were not experienced with counseling traumatized patients.

Aleya will need counseling to go on with her life, something she does not currently have access to.

In the meantime, Aleya has received approximately $215 US from Primark for the collapse. But that money is going fast. She and her family are worried about what will happen when it runs out. They don’t think the money will last past next month. She was earning $90 per month which all went towards expenses, and has no savings. The city is expensive, and they must pay for rent and food. This is why Aleya, less than 2 monthes after the accident, has already tried to go back to work.

What Aleya hopes for is that one day she can have her own sewing machine, so that she never has to go into a factory again.

Abir is following a number of survivors of the building collapse. Some are physically wounded, some are not, but nearly all of those who experienced the collapse are traumatized. The impact will be felt for a long time.

He is also following the relatives of those who were killed. Abir’s photo of relatives of the victims of the building collapse was featured by The Guardian on Monday. Today’s Boston Globe featured a photo by Abir in their story about the suspension of Bangladesh trade privileges. While this suspension is important, signifying awareness, it is mostly symbolic, reports NPR. The program suspended doesn’t cover garments.

Abir’s photography contributes to this consciousness that makes this kind of U.S. legislation possible. Abir’s work shows the world what is happening in Bangladesh. The people who make our clothing can no longer be anonymous.

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