On my first Y&TW project SLATE Post which you can find here. I talked about how sweatshop workers, work under horrible conditions, work long tiring hours and get paid very little for their labor. There was a article I read about a little girl named Meem who works at a Bangladesh sweatshop and she got to tell the world her story and how she got to where she is now. In my last post I also talked about where the word sweatshops come from and where sweatshops originated from. You can also find shops that support sweatshops/child labor that most people today buy items from. Are you shopping for sweatshop?
In my last SLATE Post I added a picture where you get to see how much sweatshop workers around the world make hourly. After seeing how much sweatshop workers make over the world I started wondering what were people from these countries personal savings? I decided to look at Bangladesh and Vietnam. I picked these two countries because they’re both pay the least amount of money to their workers compared to other countries.
I used this website to find out the average personal savings for someone who lives in Bangladesh. Turns out the average personal savings are $52.20, but the sweatshop workers in Bangladesh make $0.13 an hour and don’t really have the opportunity to save their money. The website I used for Vietnam’s average savings was this one. The average personal savings in Vietnam is $4.35 and sweatshop workers get paid $0.26 an hour. Though Vietnam's personal savings is lower than Bangladesh, I would say the both countries sweatshop workers are in the same potion were since they get paid very little they both don’t have the opportunity to save their money.
I wanted to know how my peers felt about sweatshops and where do students from the United States knowledge on sweatshop is. How I went about this is making a survey on google forms and asking the following questions; Which stores do you shop in for clothes? Check all that apply,Look at the tags on the clothing you have on right now write down below the country where each piece of clothing was made, In your own words, how would you define a sweatshop?, Do you think there are sweatshops in the USA?, Would you buy brand goods if you knew they were made in sweatshops?, If you had the power, would you shut down all the sweatshops in the world?
What I learned about from all my responses is that most people are educated on the subject of sweatshops. I was actually surprised because when I would bring it up in class or when I learned about it last year in my middle school most to all people didn’t have a clue about sweatshops. However what really caught my attention was the question responses. Question; If you had the power, would you shut down all the sweatshops in the world? I thought many people would have just “Yes of course they are awful!” etc. But that wasn’t the case. These are a few of the responses that caught my eye; “I don't really know what I would do because many people who already can barely support themselves would lose their jobs.”, “I would shut down all the sweatshops but then that would mean that we would have to find another way to make fast clothing with higher pay and better working conditions. Which might seem easy but won't be at all.” and “Ehh... maybe, but the economy as I know it would probably collapse. Ethically it should be done, but it has to be a slow process.” I loved how many of the people in my responses were thinking outside the box.
I think the point where I am now is what will I do you I can inform other about this topic? And that brings me to my Agent Of Change. I think what I want to do is have a protest near the liberty place mall area because there are a lot of clothing stores there that have sweatshops and we can help people know what they’re truly supporting. I thought this because from my responses it smells like people have general idea about sweatshops but they know know how to go about the problem and I want to be the one to push the conversion out to the public.
By definition sweatshops are factories or workshop oftentimes located in third world countries where the people are employed at very low wages for very long hours and work under poor conditions. What do most Sweatshops do though? They are most known for the clothing industry. Sweatshops are all over the world but mostly found in Central America, South America, Asia, China, India and some parts of Europe.
What inspired me to choosing this topic was when I was in 8th grade my math teacher, Teacher Vinh would alway start a unit in math by introducing a problem we had in our world. For one of the units we learned about Sweatshops, his goal, besides teaching us math was for us to understand where all of our clothes and shoes come from and to remember that there is someone that is suffering behind the stuff we own. I remember in class he wore his favorite pair of Nikes and in class he said something more so like “You guys are probably going to think i’m crazy for doing this, but i’m going to write on my shoes to honor all the people who worked hard to make theses shoes for me.” By the end of the unit we learned that as consumers it’s hard to stop buying the items you want but the ultimate goal that we all learned was to now think of the people behind the items we buy.
This issue is significant because it’s simply isn’t fair for a human to be treated as if they aren’t people. A huge problem with sweatshops is not only how they treat their workers horribly and pay them horribly but they also support child labor. I read this article about a girl named Meem working in a Bangladesh sweatshop and she told her story to reporters. Meem is a young thirteen year old girl that was taken out of school so she could work at a sweatshop sewing and making clothes. Meem had no choice but to work at a sweatshop because the family had ran into a hardship. Her mother was pregnant and unable to work, the family needed another person to bring home something. In every country that has sweatshops the workers all get paid differently but in Meem’s experience all workers would works around 12 hours with only a lunch break, by the end of the moth they make a total of $23. “It was back-breaking, it was finger-numbing. It was particularly rage-inducing,” said Meem.
Where did sweatshops originate from? In England as early as the 1850s, the word sweater was used to describe an employer who worked many long hours for very low wages. Then the word “Sweating” was spreaded in the 1880s when immigrants from eastern and southern Europe provided a cheap labour in The United States and Central Europe. In the 20th century we saw sweatshops come into parts of Latin America and Asia and have been having a increasing demand of consumer goods in the West.
Throughout my research I have learned some of my favorite companies endorus child labor. A few companies I found were Nestle, H&M, Philip Morris, Walmart, Victoria Secret, the GAP, Apple, Disney, Forever 21 and Hershey’s. Though all theses companies will deny endorsing child labor however it’s a cheap way for them to make a lot of money off of these kids while paying them no more than $20 a month. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that 250 million children between the ages of five and fourteen work in developing countries. 61% in Asia, 32% in Africa and 7% in Latin America. In Indonesia, workers earn about $3.70 for a pair of shoes that later sells worldwide in store for about $180.
Many of these children are forced to work. They are denied an education and will never know what a normal childhood is. Many of the children are often beaten if they don't work fast enough. Some are denied the right to leave the workplace and go home to their families. Some are even abducted and forced to work. Most children working at sweatshops are as young as 8 to 14 years of age. A lot of the stores we love to shop at hide things from us. For example in 2013 at a Bangladeshi sweatshop, 1,100 workers died in a building collapse in the Rana Plaza. This would have never happened if the workers never physically forced to enter the dangerously cracked building which was run by gang members.
I’m still learning about my topic and it saddens me when I find out more and more about my topic, but I don’t just want to teach my teachers and classmates about sweatshops. I want to spread the word about the truth of sweatshops and actually make my peers think about the everyday items that they’re buying and ask themselves, ‘Where was this made?, Who made this? How are they being treated? If they aren’t being treated fairly how can I help so they can get their human rights back?
Originally I was going for the the Ikea look, like focusing it on one thing. To me, it made sense at first but then explaining it to people I can could see why it was so many of my teammates were confused. My and teammates think my topic was clear. Somethings that my teammates told me to improve ways to make sure my topic was more clear. Also to not have as many pictures because at first look they didn't make sense. My pictures were also srinked and weren't pleasing to the eye.
After taking in all my critiques and applying them to my slide i decided to improve it by just having ONE picture and basing it on my topic(languages). I also changed my background to blue because it’s like the sky in my picture and also when asking people what’s their favorite color many siad blue so I thought it would be appealing to the eye. My front color is yellow because I think yellow is a color that pops to the eye. Also since my background is the sky, the yellow front goes well with the sun my my picture. Now I think my slide is more understanding and well done.
After all us this I really appreciate the speech Ms. Hull gave us because it made me feel a lot better knowing that none of us got the project done right and that we are supposed to learn from our mistake, so I want to thank Ms. Hull for that because not only do I feel more confident in Tech I feel better in my other classes.