Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Bangladesh's 'miracle' survivor marries and builds new life
But Rana Plaza collapse still haunts Reshma Akhter
Bangladeshi garment worker Reshma Akter, who was rescued from the rubble of Rana Plaza 17 days after it collapsed, sits at her sister's house in Saver on the outskirts of Dhaka. (Picture: AFP Photo/Munir uz ZAMAN)
- April 24, 2014
She was the "miracle" seamstress, plucked from the rubble of the world's worst garment factory disaster 17 days after the building collapse. One year on, she has married and found a new job.
The case of Reshma Akhter, 19, was a rare bright spot in the Rana Plaza catastrophe on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on April 24 last year that left 1,138 dead and more than 2,000 injured.
Images of her, dusty and dazed, being pulled from the wreckage appeared on newspaper front pages worldwide and turned her into a national heroine.
Like thousands of other survivors -- as well as the rescuers who faced appalling scenes, often having to perform impromptu amputations on the spot -- Akhter still suffers from insomnia and panic attacks.
But she married her boyfriend in a simple ceremony in her village in northern Bangladesh in February and is enjoying a new job in a hotel run by the international chain Westin, which approached her after her ordeal.
"I enjoy the job. This is completely the opposite of the work of a garment factory. The job is sober and relaxed," she said, adding that she would never set foot in a clothing factory again.
Speaking at her sister's home just meters from the site of the disaster, Akhter said she joined one of the five factories in Rana Plaza just 22 days before it caved in.
Her basic monthly salary was 4,700 taka ($60) working a 10-hour daily shift.
A year later, she said she has not received any compensation from a trust fund financed by Western retailers to compensate survivors, which has received only $15 million instead of a targeted $40 million.
"I only got some money from the prime minister and private donors," she said.
Since the experience she says she has become more religious, offering regular prayers for others in the garment sector and her late colleagues.
"I also pray our garment factories are safe so that none have to die there," she said.
Despite the trauma she still suffers, she said she is looking forward to life with her new husband and plans to move into a bigger home with him.
"We knew each other for years, as we had been neighbors. He is a good guy and cares for me," she explained. AFP