Bangladesh: Rupon, 6, lost his mother in building collapse

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Rupon, 6, is still waiting for his mother’s body to be recovered from the rubble of the Rana Plaza, after it collapsed on 24th April 2013. His mother, Nazma, was working at one of the garment factories and is the sole breadwinner of her family.

Rupon has been living with his Aunt Noorbanu in Netrokona Bangladesh for the past five and a half years after his father passed away while Nazma worked in Savar. Sharing a small living space with six other garment factory workers, Nazma manages to save enough to send some money to her sister’s family each month to pay for Rupon’s expenses.

Now that Nazma is likely dead, Noorbanu needs to find an additional source of income to take care of her family and her nephew. She makes some money selling old clothes in the neighbourhood but it is insufficient to support her two children, a sick and dependent husband and her nephew Rupon.

To make matters worse, Noorbanu is not eligible to receive any government compensation unless she can trace and claim her sister’s body. Without a photograph and speaking a different dialect, the chances of finding her sister’s body remain bleak. But Noorbanu says she will not return until her sister’s body is found.

“How can I go? My mind does not allow me,” said Noorbanu.

Save the Children supported Rupon and his aunt’s family by providing them with some cash for food and other immediate essentials. The death toll from the Savar building collapse has exceeded 1,125 as rescue workers continue to recover bodies from the rubble. So far, about 2,440 people have been rescued. 

Save the Children has set up information desks at the school which serves as a collection point for the bodies of those who have died. The children’s aid agency has also gathered information on children affected by the disaster from bedside interviews with injured people and relatives of the deceased. The agency has set up an information desk, and provided assistance as required. While few children were directly affected by the disaster, it is clear that, significant numbers of children will be indirectly affected as a result of the death or incapacity of their parents. 

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