Siblings Arifa Khatun, 20, and Nur Karim, 18, (pictured far left and right respectively) used to work for Phantom on the same floor of Rana Plaza. The day the cracks appeared on the walls, Nur and Arifa did not want to go to work but managers threatened to confiscate their ID cards and withhold their salaries if they did not come in.
After the building collapsed, their mother Fatema Begum, 44, searched hospital after hospital looking for them. She only found Arifa’s body after 15 days and Nur’s body after 18 days.
Fatema focuses on raising her youngest daughter and son, but worries about their monthly room rent which is rather high.
Arifa and Nur began supporting their family with their income after land disputes with Fatema’s in-laws led to the additional burden of legal costs. Their father Abdul Hamid, 53, a carpenter, is now the only income source.
Arifa’s younger sister Farida, 15, currently studies and will probably inherit the jewellery their parents had bought for Arifa, in the hopes that she would get married soon.
Nur had asked his mother to make chicken curry on the day Rana Plaza collapsed. Fatema continues to remember that her son, who loved to play the board game carrom, never got the chance to taste it.
With the support of Benetton Group and having recently received enterprise training through BRAC, Fatema will open a grocery store this month. This means Farida, who already looks after her brother Farhad, 6, will have to take up more responsibility at home.
Farhad, 6, goes to school.
Fatema, 44, who used to visit her two eldest children at their work during lunch breaks and when they worked overtime, looks forward to opening her shop. It will not only ease her family’s financial hardship, but give her a purpose and a way to spend her time.