Of the cloth used in Bangladesh’s garments sector, about a quarter is wasted, according to Reverse Resources (2017). This represents a staggering 350,000 tonnes of cloth which potentially ends up being dumped or burnt.

However, a ‘backyard garment sector’ has emerged in Saidpur, a rural region in the north west of Bangladesh. Here, an estimated 500 small businesses have sprung up taking fabric cut-offs and end of rolls (known as ‘jhut’) discarded by the big garment factories to convert into clothes for the domestic market and neighbouring countries such as India and Nepal.

Traidcraft will research the potential of this sector to be replicated in India, another textile hub, explore where and how these small business need support to reach their full capacity and will conduct thorough research into the sector’s impact on poverty, job creation (especially for women) and textile waste reduction.

As well as reducing environmental damage and waste, creating employment in areas outside of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka is incredibly important. According to UN Habitat, Dhaka is the world’s most crowded city and with more people migrating in every day from rural areas it is literally bursting at the seams making it a difficult and expensive place to live.

(See ChildHope project for one of the consequences of this rural migration.)