24-year-old Ravina comes from a marginalised family in the Gogaura Village in the north-east of Bangladesh. Her father was a teacher and her mother was a housewife, and with a twelve-member family, they could not make ends meet.
As the eldest daughter, after her Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination, Ravina dropped out of school and started working at a tailoring shop. Unfortunately, she never received a formal contract and she would work for many hours, only receiving a mid-day meal and BDT 5 per finished dress (which is 5 USD cents).
Then, when she was only 16, she married a 38-year-old man who was a development worker at a national NGO. Together they moved to the village of Birolia, where Ravina gave birth to two daughters within three years. This, of course, made their expenses skyrocket. Her husband was the only breadwinner, and they still couldn’t make ends meet. They couldn’t afford to send their daughters to school, which tormented Ravina, as she desperately wanted a better future for them.
“I was tormented seeing the same repetition - our daughters’ out of school, on the position of the same ladder. I tried to seek skills to get a job in the garment factories but I couldn’t do anything [because I didn’t have the skills they asked for]” explained Ravina.
Fortunately, at this crucial time Ravina met the TVET Project staff, who were cross-checking preliminary information of youngsters in the areas. Ravina was selected to receive the training at the Bangladesh Training Centre. Ravina learned process based hard skills to be a Sewing Machine Operator. At the same time, she gained knowledge regarding life skills such as child safeguarding and participation; decision-making and problem-solving; creative thinking and critical thinking; among others. She also learned about occupational safety and health, along with labour rights and laws.
She received the certificate in March 2022, and afterwards she joined as “Operator” at MS Garment Pvt. Ltd. In Birolia, with a monthly salary of BDT 9347 (which complies with the minimum wage set by the Bangladesh Government). She now earns a monthly wage of BDT 16500 (about 160 USD), which added up to her husband’s, amounts to BDT 40000 (about 390 USD). This allows them to send their daughters to school, where they are among the best in the class. They are now also able to save monthly.
Ravina is now a change-maker in regards to safety, compliance and labour laws in the workplace. She was also selected as one of the executive committee members of the Participation Committee of the factory. The Job Placement Officers and the instructors from the Bangladesh Training Centre still keep in touch with TVET graduates such as Ravina, as it helps graduates stay motivated, and it helps increase job retention rate.
Ravina helps motivate other youngsters to receive the TVET training, as it can help them gain employment in the formal sector. She considers the TVET project to be a life-changing initiative for the vulnerable and marginalised youth, helping them lead dignified lives.