Shima Akthar and Dilruba Akther are members of Bangladesh’s transgender community.
Shima is working as a Junior Safety Assistant on the production floor and Dilruba is a Junior Supervisor in the housekeeping team at Denim Expert Ltd.
Shima and Dilruba are proud too.
They’re delighted with their employment as they never thought that they would have the opportunity to secure gainful employment given the stigmatization they face in society.
Bangladesh jeans manufacturer, Denim Expert Ltd., has just partnered with sexual minorities campaigning organisation, the BANDHU Social Welfare Society, to offer work opportunities to people who are transgender.
As Dilruba explained: “Denim Expert Ltd. is not just a company – it is like a family to me. All of the employees treat me with respect and help me in my work.
What’s more, having a job is already helping to reopen doors to her family.
“Before I joined Denim Expert Ltd. my family disrespected me and did not communicate with me,” she said, “but now we have regular contact.”
Denim Expert Ltd has created employment opportunities so far for 4 transgenders -- Shima Akthar, Dilruba Akther, Bithi Akther and Aduri Akther.
“As an entrepreneur, not only am I passionate about all aspects of the denim industry, I also believe everyone should benefit from the world of work”, said Mostafiz Uddin, Managing Director of Denim Expert Limited.
“That includes work for the approximately 10,000 transgender people in Bangladesh who, as representatives of BANDHU explained when they visited the factory earlier in the year, are too often stigmatized and alienated from society and their families”, he added.
“After talking to BANDHU, it became obvious to me that integration is key.
Members of the transgender community must be given the opportunity to find gainful employment and in doing so, contribute to society and to the nation as a whole.
It’s why I decided to enter into a partnership with BANDHU and with USAID, which has also expressed its interest in the work we are doing, and take members of the transgender community into the Denim Expert family.”
Denim Expert is also providing an environment conducive to work for the transgenders by:
- Providing orientation and necessary awareness-raising training on issues around transgender and human rights to management and workers.
- Offering job support to transgender workers within the workplace. - Ensuring coordination between management level staff at BANDHU and our HR department to monitor the partnership.
Putting these building blocks in place has meant that employees who work the transgenders have accepted them into the company. They’re also working well with them to ensure the successful completion of their duties.