While working on the shipbreaking yard owned by the ARL Group close to Chittagong, 15 year old Ibrahim was struck by a falling steel plate which crushed his leg. The boy and his foreman shouted for help, but nobody heard them for a long time.
For months the boy was left at his family’s place and could have remained disabled for the rest of his life. Similar to earlier cases reported by the Platform, the family could not afford a proper operation and Ibrahim was left to hope that the complex fracture will heal under the plaster which covered all of his leg. German international broadcasting service DW has reported on his case, including a video with Ibrahim’s interview.
It is illegal under Bangladesh’s Labour Act to use children and adolescent workers in hazardous industries such as shipbreaking. However, no yard owner has ever been held responsible for child labour, not even when a child worker is severely injured or has died in a shipbreaking yard.
After German international channel DW reported Ibrahim’s case, and thousands of people saw a documentary broadcasted on German state TV ZDF as well as the on 3SAT in Switzerland and Austria, TV viewers were willing to donate for the boy’s operation. Platform Coordinator Shahin organised for Ibrahim’s stay at the hospital and transferred the donations in order
to cover the treatment. In April, half a year after the boy’s accidents, he finally received the operation needed to save his leg.
A month later, Shahin went to Ibrahim in his home village and the boy was busy walking around with crutches. His family is very grateful for the support received from Europe. The story has a happy ending for Ibrahim – however, not every injured worker receives donations, and the employers must be held accountable for work-related accidents.