Strengthening worker families and communities
At Walmart, we strive to improve the lives of workers outside the factory walls, which is why the Walmart Foundation frequently provides grants to NGOs that operate in the communities where supplier factories are located. One example is the Walmart Foundation’s funding of the Women’s Health and Education Through Effective Learning (WHEEL) program in Bangladesh through our partnership with CARE.
In Bangladesh, it is estimated that more than 80 per cent of garment workers are women. These women often lack a formal education and the skills necessary to improve their quality of life. With our assistance, the WHEEL program has set up 100 learning centres where women can gain workplace skills and receive health and literacy training, necessary to improve their lives and be better prepared to access the economic opportunities they deserve. The initiative will benefit 2,500 workers and their families, positively impacting an estimated 12,500 to 15,000 people in their communities.
Securing a better life: Rehana Akter, Dhaka
Rehana Akter and her family moved to Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, in search of a better life. For three years she worked as a maid before receiving a job in a factory. “I did not get a chance to go to school and made lots of mistakes with numbers while working as a helper,” Rehana said. Through the WHEEL program, she started taking night school classes, where she learned to calculate her overtime, read and write Bengali, and more. After completing her first year at the WHEEL learning centre, Rehana’s lifestyle changed. She now eats healthier and takes proper care of herself. She earned a promotion from helper to operator at her factory and anticipates additional opportunities to improve her quality of life in the future. “I’m able to read, write and calculate because those learning opportunities were available to me at night,” she said.