The children are growing up there with proper education, entertainment, health care
Six years have passed since the Rana Plaza tragedy took place at Savar in April 2013.
More than a thousand garment workers lost their lives and many were crippled by the disaster.
Orca Homes at Phulchari upazila in Gaibandha has been sheltering 49 children of the deceased or injured victims of the tragedy. Of them, 29 are boys and 20 are girls.
The children are growing up with proper education, healthcare and entertainment there.
Rajshashi Ex-Cadet Association, also known as Old Rajshahi Cadet Association, established Orca Homes in 2014.
The shelter houses a primary school called Hossainpur Muslim Academy, where the children study.
The home also has a study room, a recreational centre and a playground. Among other facilities, the children receive regular health check-ups and treatment at nearby Surjer Hashi Clinic.
Shankar Kumar Rai, son of Rana Plaza survivor Gitarani of Gaibandha, studies in class 8 of the academy. He said: “My mother used to work at a garments factory in the building. After the accident, she came back home injured.
“The government provided Tk3 lakh as assistance to her and with that money, my family has been surviving with a lot of difficulty.”
“I am studying here with BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) funding. I want to be an engineer when I grow up,” Shankar said.
Al Amin Mia, son of late Nargis Begum, also from Gaibandha, studies in class nine. He said: “After my mother died, I came to stay here. The government gave Tk9 lakh as compensation to me and my father, Tuhin Mia. My portion of the money which is Tk2 lakh, is in the bank, while my father has invested his share of Tk7 lakh in various places.”
“I want to be self-reliant in the future and for that, Orca Homes is providing me with an education,” Amin said.
Orca Homes President Md Zahidul Haque said: “The home bears all the expenses of the children of Rana Plaza victims. Also, BGMEA gives some amount of money every month. We do not need any kind of funding from the government.”
“We are also working on making the affected family member stand on their own financially,” he added.