Sovann's dream: Enough to eat (Cambodia)
“They told us the shipment was urgent. We were scared of being insulted and forced. We worked even when we were sick. We worked even when we didn't have enough sleep or enough food. I'm so broken down.“
Salong’s dream: a safe bathroom (Cambodia)
“The room is tiny [2m x 3m] and ugly. We only have one mat, one mosquito net and a gas stove for the four of us. I earn US$80 a month. We pay US$40 a month for this one room – everyone pays US$10 - electricity and water included. That’s a lot but we’re lucky because the landlord installed a bathroom attached to our room. It makes us feel more secure.”
Ratna’s dream: a safe pregnancy (India)
Ratna was 8 months pregnant and working as a contract worker in Bangalore when she began to suffer labour pains. She had no choice but to go to work as it was a salary day and she could not afford to miss her wages – if she was not present she would have to wait until the end of the month to receive her pay.
The pains worsened around 10 am. She approached her supervisor for permission to leave, but was told she must ask permission from the manager. She was finally able to leave at 12.30pm, but was further delayed by the security guards. By the time she left the factory she could barely walk 10 feet and ended up giving birth on the footpath.
It was too late to save the baby, with the umbilical cord uncut due to no proper healthcare, by the time she reached home her baby had died.
Nupur’s dream: to finish school (Bangladesh)
Before starting work in the garment factory, Nupur, 19, was living in a village and attending school but was not able to continue after the 5th grade.
Her parents could not pay the school fees anymore. Nupur and her father are the only breadwinners in the family. Her father cannot work all the time due to a chronic disease. The family depends on Nupur’s wages as a garment worker.
Mim's dream: the clothes she makes (Bangladesh)
Mim produces clothes for major western brands that are seen on highstreets across Europe. Like many young woman, Mim, 23, dreams of dressing up, but on the poverty wages she earns this remains a dream. "I really like the clothes I make, and I would very much like to wear them myself. But I could never afford them!" [Schone Kleren Campagne research]
Zarina's dream: safe transport (Pakistan)
For many workers the journey to and from work is hazardous. Some have to pay a significant amount of their monthly wage to travel by local transport whilst others are able to use transport provided by their employers. However even this provided transport does not always guarantee safety. Zarina was working in a factory in Lahore when she travelled home late at night after overtime on the transport provided by the factory. “I along with other 6 women workers were kidnapped while going back home, the kidnapers took us to a construction site and we were raped by six people and thrown back in the wagon.” [From Women Worker's Worldwide research for CCC]
Phalla’s dream: Saving for her own atelier (Cambodia)
Phalla earns US$120 a month including overtime, she supports her family including her parents who are sick and also has health problems of her own.
Phalla's dream is to save enough money to go to school and open her own atelier, but she says saving money as a garment worker is impossible. “I can never save any money,” she said. “If I did, my parents would die and I would too.”
*Testimonies gathered through Clean Clothes Campaign & partners research in 2013
** research from 2008