Following the devastating earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş, Türkiye in February, the Otto Group partnered with The Centre to implement a tailor-made WeCare programme at a supplier factory located in the region. The objective was to offer targeted assistance to help the factory and its employees through the specific challenges they faced during this difficult time.
The Centre’s team travelled to the factory site to conduct a rapid assessment to identify the support needs of workers and their families who have been affected by the earthquake. This worker needs assessment included surveys, interviews, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and walkthroughs, with full support from both the Otto Group and the factory management.
We identified several pressing needs among workers and their families. Many workers reported feeling unsafe, were struggling to cover basic living expenses, and expressed ongoing concerns about food and necessities. Due to earthquake damage to houses, numerous workers were allocated to temporary containers, some of which lacked essential amenities. The demand for rental houses exceeded supply, leading to inflated rental costs and repair expenses for tenants. The earthquake also brought about severe negative psychological impact, experienced by both workers and children.
Despite slight earthquake damage, the factory quickly resumed production after three weeks, following certified repairs. The factory provided immediate emergency support to its workforce by accommodating families in tents placed in the factory’s parking lot and providing food. Shuttle bus services between the factory and local residential areas were also quickly reinstated by the factory.
The Centre is now working with the factory to implement an adapted version of the WeCare program, which the factory had entered into before the earthquake. Possible WeCare activities include psychological counselling, training on earthquake preparedness, smartwatch programmes to enable parent workers to keep connected to their children and a family days. Together, these activities will assist workers in families in navigating the challenges they face following the earthquakes.
The WeCare programme is currently being implemented across multiple factories for the Otto Group in Bangladesh and Türkiye. In previous years, the programme had also been implemented in China. Through ongoing collaboration and targeted initiatives, the Otto Group and factory management are dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of workers and their families.
Working in partnership with brands, supplier factories and farms, we continue to grow and develop the range of activities offered through the WeCare programme to meet the varying needs of workers and families in an increasingly diverse range of environments and contexts.
Please reach out to us to discuss how our WeCare Programme can be tailored to address specific challenges and provide support to workers and their families within your supply chain.