Seeking work in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world. 40 per cent of its population of 147 million live in extreme poverty.
Industry experts state there have been few factory closures or job cuts as a direct result of the global financial crisis. However, thousands of the 5.5 million Bangladeshis who work overseas – mostly in Gulf states – are indirectly feeling the effects as demand for migrant labor drops.
Anwarul Islam has not been able to find suitable work or employment since he lost his job in a garment factory well over a month ago. He left his native Bangladesh four years ago to pursue a better paid job. Finding work in Jordan, and earning about 9,500 Taka (about $150USD) per month, he had been able to save some of his earnings and send them home to help pay for his children's education.
It was during the Islamic festival of Eid-ul-Azha that Anwarul – and his colleagues – began to learn that their jobs were at risk.
"We were hearing that there was no work and the factory would be shut down," he says. "It all happened quite fast actually. Although there was much talk about the factory shutting down, the authorities did not really tell us anything until almost the last week."
Since losing his job, Anwarul has had little choice but to return to Bangladesh to seek out new work. But his search has so far proven unfruitful.
Anwarul's story is not alone. Migrant workers across the world are being laid off in their tens of thousands, as global demand plummets, with knock on effects for their families.
Though he faces an uncertain future, Anwarul remains hopeful that he will find a job with a decent income again soon, so that he can continue to pay his children's school fees.
"I am realizing the hard way that schooling is very important," Anwarul explains. "It would be very unfortunate if I did not put my children through school."