Photo: Cam Cope/Oxfam AUS

The power of Fairtrade chocolate

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Kuapa Kookoo is the only farmer owned cocoa cooperative in Ghana and the supplier of cocoa for the Oxfam So Fair So Good range available at Oxfam Shop. Thanks to Fair trade sales, they’re creating life-changing social projects for the whole community.

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Kalpona Akter and the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity

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Kalpona is a former child worker who started work in garment factories when she was twelve. She is now the Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), one of Bangladesh’s most prominent labour rights organisations. Find out how you can help improve the rights of workers in Bangladesh.

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Photo: Alan Jacobsen, The Sidney Hillman Foundation

Bangladesh factory fire survivor visits Australia

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Sumi Abedin was working in the Tarzeen garment factory in Bangladesh when she was forced to make a chilling decision. Trapped in the burning factory and faced with the horrific choice between burning alive or jumping to certain death, she chose to jump.

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Fantastic news!

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We have just heard that after months of promises, Woolworths have finally listened to you and signed the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord. This means that soon, safety teams will be inspecting all of Woolworths’ (Big W) supplier factories in Bangladesh for building and fire safety. The news that Woolworths has finally signed the Bangladesh […]

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Katies and Millers take action on safety in Bangladesh

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Thanks to the great work of Oxfam supporters like you, another major Australian clothing retailer has now signed the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord. This week, Specialty Fashion Group (incorporating the Katies, Millers, City Chic, Autograph and Crossroads brands) became the fifth Australian company to sign the accord, joining Kmart, Target, Cotton On and Forever […]

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Support workers rights in Indonesia

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In countries like Indonesia, many women and men making goods for big-name brands are struggling to make ends meet. Workers who enjoy freedom of association (freedom to form unions and negotiate with employers) have the best chance of obtaining fairer working conditions, escaping cycles of poverty and debt. But even when countries recognise freedom of […]

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Photo: Rino Hidayah/OxfamAUS

My thoughts on democracy and protest

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As workers, getting our message or opinion across to multinational corporations can be difficult. This is what makes the role of protests so important…

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Photo: Timothy Herbert/OxfamAUS

Working women with families

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Another friend of mine recently became a single parent. Her baby is less than a year old, but her husband deserted both of them. To get by as a single mother she works full time at the footwear factory.

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Photo: OxfamAUS

Working around the clock

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I’m aware that because I work the night shift the condition of my body isn’t great—I’m unfit, easily tired and frequently sick…If there were something I could wish for, it would be that the factory provides something to help us improve our nutrition, so that I can stay healthy while working night shift.

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Photo: OxfamAUS

Dengue Fever

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Before I fell ill, I hadn’t been feeling well enough to work for two or three days. But I still went to work because I wouldn’t be able to get sick leave without a certificate from the factory clinic.

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Sharing the basics

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This is the sort of pump which is generally used in rental house areas, including my family’s home. This single pump is used by about 10 different rental houses (20-30 people). Because of the large amount of people using it sometimes the water comes up murky.

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Mum: Making the most of it

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Since the start of the fasting month my mother has been selling clothing to her friends at her factory. She purchases the clothes from outlets and makes a profit of between 5,000-10,000 Rupiah per item (60 cents to $1.15). From past experience my mother has sold at least 50 pieces. If only she had a bit more start-up capital, I’m sure she could get more clothing to sell.

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Just Scraping By: Everyday life around my home

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As a worker on a low wage, sometimes I get scared when I imagine my future. I worry that when I am elderly my own situation won’t be that different from my neighbours. Even in their old age they have to work very hard just to scrape by.

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All about weddings

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I recently attended a friend’s wedding ceremony. The couple come from different ethnic backgrounds, which made this ceremony quite unique. The bride and groom had to change into four different outfits to pay their respects to each of the parents. They wore Sundanese dress (orange), Javanese dress (green), Lampung and Sumatra dress. In this photo the couple wears an Arabic costume and they are reading prayers from al-Qur’ān.

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Independence Day Celebrations

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It has become a custom for Indonesians to commemorate Independence Day by holding competitions. This year the factory also held competitions for the workers inside its grounds. The competitions included panjat pinang (pole climbing) and a singing competition.

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A month of fasting begins

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Wednesday was the first day of Ramadan – the Islamic month of fasting. For the next forty days I will fast from dawn till dusk. You may wonder whether fasting affects my ability to concentrate at work. Actually I’ve been doing it since I was young so I don’t have any difficulties; I’m already used to fasting at work.

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Changing the status quo for women workers

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Last year I had the opportunity to join in some leadership training conducted by the NGO Kapal Perempuan. I learnt many new things from the training, but as just one example, something that really impressed on me was the way that we perceive the differences between women and men. It’s not true to say that only men can be described as “providers”. But in the past this is an assumption that I had always accepted.

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United: we stand a chance!

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Today I want to talk a bit about why unions are important for workers like me. I became a member of my union because it pays attention to the situation of workers and their rights, as well as their obligations. I also feel that I’ve been able to learn many things since participating in union activities. For example, I’ve learnt that once the company has made a regulation on our rights it can’t just take those rights away again or erase them.

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Photo: Fernando Moleres/Intermon

Over time or over it?

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English / Bahasa Last week I worked 9 hours overtime. This week on top of overtime I’ll also work a Saturday night shift. I will depart for the factory at 9 in the evening and return home at 6 in the morning, possibly not until 7. Long hours are not out of the ordinary for […]

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Working life

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From sportswear factories to domestic work overseas, read Sewani’s accounts of her past employment experiences. Short-term contracts Life as an overseas migrant worker Ups and downs of overseas domestic work Impressions from abroad Back to the factory floor Workplace worries Bitter ironies Short-term contracts After graduating from high school I followed in my mother’s footsteps […]

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Photo: Timothy Herbert/OxfamAUS

In my shoes: Sewani’s story so far

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Read the life story of Sewani* , a 24 year old Indonesian footwear worker. You can follow Sewani’s blog here. Photo: OxfamAUS My story so far My name is Sewani.  I am 24-years-old.  I work in a factory producing a famous brand of sports shoes in an industrial district of Indonesia, not far from the […]

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Photo: OxfamAUS

Life on the minimum wage…

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English / Bahasa Producing sports shoes in the factory I earn about $140 (AUD) per month. Most of this income (80%) I hand over to my mother so that she can cover our household expenses and schooling for my younger brother and sisters. I don’t have any personal savings. My family that is my savings! […]

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Photo: OxfamAUS

Work Place Worries

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English / BahasaBefore I got status as a permanent worker I had to under go a three month trial period. This was really tough- during this time the pressure is really high. Even if we are feeling really ill there is no way we wouldn’t come to work. Our supervisors often don’t follow the training […]

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Photo: OxfamAUS

24 hours in my shoes

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English / Bahasa Halo! Hi my name is Sewani and this is a blog about my life as a 24-year-old factory worker in Indonesia. I work 6 days a week at a factory producing shoes for a famous international sportswear brand. I want to share my story with you so at least you can get […]

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