05/06/2013, 00.00
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PIME priest in Bangladesh: Rana Plaza teaches that profit cannot be everything

by p. Quirico Martinelli
A letter from Bangladesh from Fr. Quirico Martinelli on the young girls linked to PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) who died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza: they were Perpetua, Sikha, Sefali, Fojila and Mosuma. "We hope that this tragedy will serve as a warning."

Dinajpur (AsiaNews) - The collapse of the Rana Plaza occurred on April 24, only 30 km from the capital Dhaka, enveloped us all in pain and worry, because some of our girls from the villages of our area, worked for one of the companies in the collapsed building, the Phantom-Tac.

This company, originally from Spain, but now working in cooperation with a local Bengali firm, started working five years ago with our Novara Technical School here in Dinajpur, providing machinery and paying an instructor to open a knitting section in our school.
In five years, about sixty girls, after having completed the course of knitting, have found work in the area of ​​Dhaka, the capital. Our schools relations with Phantom-Tac, now almost completely Bengali, have always been very correct and friendly. Even today, the company pays for the instructor and knitting machines here at the school, while also providing the fabric and materials for teaching. When the girls after completing the course, go to Dhaka in search of work, the company provides them two weeks an additional hands-on instruction free of charge, and then leaves them free to decide whether to work in their factory, or to go to other companies in the area.

In fact, only a dozen of our girls worked in this company: the others are scattered in the factories throughout the area. This company had rented the fourth and fifth floors of the collapsed building. Unfortunately, there has been no news of five of the girls from our school - Perpetua, Sikha, Sefali, Fojila and Mosuma (three Christians and two Muslims) - after nearly nine days, there are not even hopes to find them alive anymore. It was a great loss for all of us.

There were more than 3 thousand people in the collapsed building (some say 6 thousand): more than 2 thousand were saved, more than 600 bodies were pulled from the rubble, others are reported missing. But the numbers are only indicative and do not know the exact figures, maybe we never will. The hope is that this tragedy serves as a warning.

Throughout the region around the capital Dhaka, within a radius of 50 km, in recent years, hundreds of textile factories have sprouted, causing an exodus from the villages of North and making the area more and more overcrowded and the roads impossible to pass, in a continuous traffic, day and night. In the North, the factories were not viable due to transport difficulties.

Thus, a few years ago a new mission was also opened in this area, dedicated to "Jesus worker", with the presence of fathers and sisters, for the reception and care of these young emigrants who left the villages , to go for the first time to the city looking for work


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