Remake spoke with founder of Standup Movement Lanka (Sri Lankan local labor advocacy NGO), Ashila Mapalagama, who shared the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic on garment makers.
Join us in donating to an emergency fund to support Sri Lankan garment makers who are currently jobless, hungry, and housing insecure because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fashion companies are canceling orders and refusing to pay for them even though they were completed or already in production at local factories.
Laid off by factories without due compensation, no aid from local government, having only one meal per day, foraging jackfruit as sustenance, feeding children tea instead of milk, not enough money to feed themselves let alone paying for rent — This is the reality that Sri Lankan garment makers are living in and suffering from RIGHT NOW. This is also the reality for most garment makers in the global south, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and beyond.
I also write to you on a personal note, urgently asking for your help to alleviate this dire situation. I am Yimin, a Remake ambassador. When I was a final year fashion design student at Parsons School of Design, I had the privilege to visit Sri Lankan garment makers and their communities. Seeing firsthand the hidden side of our global fashion supply chain, my fellow ambassadors Ioli, Mallory, Misha, and I were deeply shocked, affected, and transformed.
All four of us felt extremely frustrated and deflated from witnessing the reality Sri Lankan garment makers have to face in this week-long trip. "This IS the industry that we'll soon be entering," we all thought. However, it was Ashila who showed us tremendous strength and resiliency and that, in turn, gave us strength. A former garment maker, she is always on the ground, supporting and advocating for local garment makers, their rights, and their well-being.
Receiving this recent update from Ashila, which is documented in the video above, is heartbreaking. I come from a Chinese family that was fortunate enough to support my dream as a fashion designer, allowing me to study at an American private institution. Oftentimes, I forget that simply not being hungry is a privilege that many in the global south (or even here in the United States) cannot take for granted, especially when COVID-19 is wrecking havoc on global economic systems and heavily stressing local governance. However, I am immensely grateful for our global connection and communication enabled by the Internet. We can see things that were once hidden due to geographical distance. We can see realities that fashion companies don't want us to see.
Therefore, I urge YOU, to contribute however you're able to and share this emergency relief fund with others. Uphold the humanity that connects us all, now made acutely apparent by a pandemic.
Donations made to this fund will provide immediate and direct relief to garment makers currently facing food and housing insecurity in Sri Lanka. Your donations will go to Standup Movement Lanka to support garment makers who are financially devastated by this global pandemic.
If you want to help keep fashion companies accountable, ask them to pay up by signing our #PayUp petition, which has collected over 12,000 signatures as of May 7, 2020.
Thank you for your time, and please join us.
Yimin Deng-Wen, a Remake ambassador
May 7, 2020
View our 2018 Made in Sri Lanka film short below:
- Jessie Ampofo
- Junyi Li
- luanjiao hu