Today is an important day for remembering.

PHOTO: Steph Johnstone –
Tower of London August 2014

Remembering the ANZACs and remembering the major earthquake that hit Nepal a year ago.

Probably lesser known about is the 3rd anniversary just yesterday of the collapse of Rana Plaza.


We arrived home from Nepal via Singapore late last night  and didn’t make a dawn service as our body clocks were some fours behind but we did witness the St Heliers parade – led by bagpipes and a small group of servicemen and women. At the back of the group was a young boy looking a bit sheepish as he paraded wearing the medals of what must be a great grandparent!


We went into our local cafe this morning and opened the papers to see a two page article remembering the terrible earthquake in Nepal which was especially poignant given we had just been there and two of the photos were taken by photographer Carlo Heathcote, of

people my husband interviewed recently while working as a volunteer for the International Red Cross. Here’s the link to the article and the photos.

I was very grateful to not experience any tremors during my recent five day visit, where I met with a new supplier partnership for She Made This. More on that in my next blog with some pics of some exciting product lines we plan to add soon.

However, while I was there, a number of major earthquakes happened elsewhere around the world so our thoughts and prayers are with those people, knowing the realities of what they will be experiencing at present.


The reason this tragedy, which happened on 24th April 2103,  is also of major significance and worthy of our remembrance and concern is that:-

The collapse of the Rana Plaza building is, to date, the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry worldwide. 

Here’s some of the statistics in brief to help understand why.

  • Some 3,639 workers toiled in five factories housed in the Rana Plaza building producing clothing for some U.S., Canadian and European clothing labels and retailers. These companies more than likely, also supply Australasia.
  • Eighty percent of the workers were young women, 18, 19, 20 years of age.
  • Their standard shift was 13 to 14 ½ hours, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:30 p.m., toiling 90 to 100 hours a week with just two days off a month.
  • Young “helpers” earned 12 cents an hour, while “junior operators” took home 22 cents an hour, $10.56 a week, and senior sewers received 24 cents an hour and $12.48 a week.

Here’s what happened on that tragic day.

On Wednesday morning, April 24, 2013 at 8:00 a.m., 3,639 workers refused to enter the eight-story Rana Plaza factory building because there were large and dangerous cracks in the factory walls. The owner, Sohel Rana, brought paid gang members to beat the women and men workers, hitting them with sticks to force them to go into the factory. Managers of the five factories housed in Rana Plaza also told the frightened workers, telling them that if they did not return to work, there would be no money to pay them for the month of April, which meant that there would be no food for them and their children. They were forced to go in to work at 8:00 a.m.

At 8:45 a.m. the electricity went out and the factories’ five generators kicked on. Almost immediately the workers felt the eight-story building begin to move, and heard a loud explosion as the building collapsed, pancaking downward.

1,137 confirmed dead at Rana Plaza. A year later, over 200 remained missing.

If all this concerns you, as it does me, you would find taking a few minutes to watch this interactive and very powerful video by The Guardian paper in the UK. It well worth taking the time to understand how what happened here impacts on us all, and that we all have the power to do something about it even if we live on the other side of the world.…

If you buy $10 jeans what are you really expecting about the working conditions of those who made them?”

The Rana Plaza tragedy has been used positively as a catalyst for change as there is more and more awareness about the unfair practises. The movement of ethical trading practises is growing as we become aware of what is actually going on and we start to realise that this is not just someone else’s problem or a problem of such magnitude that we are incapable of playing a part in the change process.

For example, last week was worldwide Fashion Revolution Week.


“We believe that fashion can be made in a safe, clean and beautiful way. Where creativity, quality, environment and people are valued equally.”

On 18-24 April, Fashion Revolution Week brought people from all over the world together to use the power of fashion to change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes and accessories.

“We want more brands to show us who made our clothes. We want to thank the makers. We want clothes that we will be proud to wear.”

This ‘revolution’ is something that needs to be more than a once a year effort and here’s how we can help……

Next time you go into a clothing shop simply ask the shop assistant

And it’s not just the fashion industry that needs to take a good hard look at itself. It’s time to educate ourselves and understand that we are the privileged minority in this world. We need to take some time out of our busy lives to consider our fellow human beings on this planet and how we can positively impact on improving their lives in so many ways.

This is why various social enterprise businesses are starting up, just like She Made This, so that there are options out there where you know you are buying from businesses who support “Fair Trade” accredited organisations which pay the “makers” at the beginning of the supply chain a fair and living wage and attempt to keep the price to the end users fair too so it’s a win win for everybody.

I highly recommend watching the movie The True Cost for a dose of reality viewing that is actually worth watching. I’ve watched it four times now and still hear and learn something new each time. If you do watch it or have and other videos on this topic that you recommend. Please let me know in the comments.