The boom in the export-oriented Bangladeshi garments has caused more women to enter the workforce than ever before. A lot of these workers include Higher Secondary Graduates who came into this profession either to fight poverty or due to family tragedies. To enable these women reach their full potential and utilise the unused treasure of human resources, Asian University for Women (AUW) introduced their newest initiative -- “Pathway for Promise”.
The programme aims to provide free education among Bangladeshi RMG workers. Their promise is to empower women by giving them expertise and knowledge not only to expand as people and leaders but also to increase work opportunities.
The initiative is the brainchild of Kamal Ahmad, founder of AUW whose main aim was to demonstrate to the world that the millions of women currently working in garment factories represent an untapped pool of potential.
The programme started from January 2016 and currently has more than 30 former RMG workers as students. Before they launched the programme, AUW started off with going to the garment factories and pitching this idea.
In most cases, the women were the sole earners of their families and driving them away from work meant more sufferings for their families. They initially asked the factories to keep paying salaries of the selected students, which most of the factories agreed to do.
Before going into the curriculum of the Bachelors programme, the selected students go through a few extra classes which focus on English and other basic subjects. In August of this year, the first batch of students passed a stringent test which allowed them to continue their AUW academic journey.
Fency Akhter, a former RMG worker, is one of the students who was recently enrolled into this programme. “I never thought an opportunity like this would come. I never thought I would ever get to even see the inside of a university campus and now I am actually studying in one,” says Fency.
After her HSC exams, she had to work to maintain her poor family. Fency now dreams of becoming a journalist.
Asian University for Women, since its establishment in 2008, has always come forward to empower women. This time their initiative might be a revolution in the whole RMG sector itself. To know more about this wonderful initiative, make sure to grab Friday's issue Star Weekend.