Lonni is an 18-year-girl who resides outside Dhaka, Bangladesh. Before being the breadwinner of her family, they struggled to put food on the table. Through Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme, her path in life changed for the better.
There are many communities in Bangladesh that rely on daily-wage labour, which includes Lonni’s parents. Lonni’s father is a mason, a physically demanding job which involves doing brickwork on a daily basis. Her mother’s role in the family is traditional which involves cleaning and cooking for the family of five. She is also a dressmaker for a contracting company.
Due to poverty and the parents’ wages not being enough, Lonni was not able to finish Grade 6 and had to support her mother. She tried her best to apply for a position despite not having the skills or knowledge to properly operate sewing machines. As a child, Lonni was working long hours at the dressmaking shop while making only 50 Bangladeshi Taka per day (which is only about 0.5 Euros).
When the TVET program began in Bangladesh, staff from Terre des Hommes Netherlands looked for partners to send young people to centres so they could gain skills necessary for their future. Lonni was identified among hundreds of other youths. “I tried to seek skills rather than thinking I couldn’t do anything because I have no skills or an academic certificate”, Lonni said as she asked her parents for permission in being involved in a training program in the sewing industry.
She regained her dream to obtain a decent job as a trainer for renowned garment factories. She wanted a job in formal factories where she could be a change-maker on safety, compliance, and labour laws in the workplace, and also inspire other vulnerable youngsters to lead a dignified life.
Lonni showed a quick learner attitude as she learned about machine control, managing job sheets, and making collars and front pockets from many different fabrics. In addition to her training in employment skills, she was also taught about child rights, minimum wage, leadership, and communication.
Terre des Hommes partner organisations took notice of her passion to learn and motivation to work hard. The centre offered Tonni a job as a trainer for factory training centres, with a higher salary of BDT 9,100. Tonni now produces many highly-skilled workers for many different garment factories.
Lonni said, “I want to take my life forward as far as I can for myself and for my family. Now, I am no longer disappointed. I am the kind of person that doesn’t let her dreams slip away. I am able to make my dream a reality. My learning with the TVET project inspires me to contribute to my society and my country”.
Lonni is an example of a successful TVET graduate. She is one of many vulnerable youngsters from marginalised communities. About 400 youngsters (280 girls and 120 boys) like Lonni will bring a significant change to their future and their families through this Terre des Homme Netherlands programme in Bangladesh.