METRO GROUP opens child day care centre in Bangladesh

5 May 2010

  • Cooperation with the national garment industry association
  • Project supports mothers working in the garment industry and contributes to sustainably improving social standards
  • Facility will accommodate 60 children from the area of Narayanganj near the capital Dhaka

METRO GROUP will build a modern day care centre for up to 60 children together with the national Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA). This was agreed in a contract which the representatives of the company and the association signed in late April. The goal of the project is to enable mothers working in the garment industry to better reconcile work and family. With this establishment, METRO GROUP wants to make another contribution to improving the social standards of its suppliers. 

The child day care centre is to open its doors in July this year in the area of Narayanganj near the capital Dhaka where around 300 knitwear factories are located. Unlike conventional child day care centres which are primarily a place where children are looked after, this facility will focus on education and learning. This way, it is to be established as a central hub for the community. The facility will initially accommodate 60 children. They will be divided into four age groups to help ensure proper caring based on age requirements. The day care centre will in addition also offer courses that also address the mothers on topics like health care, hygiene and birth control. "This child day care centre will be a role model project and we are putting great energy into it. It will set standards which will hopefully serve as a model for other companies operating in the country", says Dr Eckhard Cordes, CEO of METRO GROUP. 

As a founding member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), METRO GROUP actively promotes basic human rights in its value chain. "This is certainly not the easiest way. But we accept our responsibility in this regard and engage in a dialogue with our critics", says Cordes. "METRO GROUP views economic success and corporate social responsibility as two sides of the same coin: Only a profitable company can also be a socially responsible company". 

In the framework of this project, METRO GROUP teamed up with BKMEA, one of the most important associations in the garment industry in Bangladesh. "We want to create a real value added for the working women and contribute to improving their quality of life", explains Fazlul Hoque, President of BKMEA. The day care centre will be a ground-breaking initiative for child care in Bangladesh. BKMEA is the first trade organisation in the country to establish a centralised establishment for their workers, says Fazlul Hoque. 

The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) represents the knitwear sector of Bangladesh. This sector, which is the country's largest export earning industry, achieved exports of US 6.4 billion in FY 2008-2009. This corresponds to about 42 percent of the national export earnings. In total, around 1.2 million people work in the garment sector of which 70 percent are female. BKMEA works as a guardian of the sector and takes on primary and development related activities like market promotion, policy strategy, guidelines, productivity improvements, social standards and training.