On 24 April, 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza in Savar collapsed, killing 1133 workers and leaving thousands at a loss. Immediately after the collapse, civil society and voluntary organizations joined forces in rescue efforts, bringing out 2000+ workers from the debris.
On receiving donations from both local and international communities, the One Degree Initiative Foundation sent volunteers to the site in rescue efforts, and disbursed the donations in immediate and long-term medical treatment, and economic rehabilitation.
BDT 6,44,000 was collected from corporate and individual cash donations, and a large supply of medicines, dry food, water, oxygen tanks were received. They were distributed on site, and at the nearby hospitals (Enam Medical College and Hospital). Drawing from the One Degree Initiative Foundation funds and donations, a total of BDT 7,95,000 was spent on medical treatment and economic rehabilitation of the victims.
Tahmid Fateen was one of the many volunteers who went to the rescue site and later, worked on building the survivors’ database comprising of 1000+ names. He described his experience in Rana Plaza Rescue efforts as a “life changing” and “tragic” incident, something he felt he never should have to do if only factories were more careful. He remembers the stench and cries, and how he felt helpless watching the many victims’ families searching from them. He demands accountability and feels such incidents will keep recurring and affecting our economy if the stakeholders are not more responsible.
The One Degree Initiative Foundation was awarded by the US Department of State for exemplary efforts in the rescue of the victims in the collapse.