Kelsey Nielsen first traveled to Uganda to “love on babies” at an orphanage as a self-described “White Savior.” Then she started to ask questions about privilege and power and how best to help people. She is one of the founders of “No White Saviors” an Instagram account that has turned into a movement.
Our conversation on the Good People podcast went so long that I broke it into two parts. I could’ve asked her more questions. You can listen below or on Apple Podcasts or probably other places too. (I like doing the interviews, but not so much the administrivia a podcast or life requires.)
On the 6th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster that killed 1,134 Bangladeshi garment works and injured thousands more, Kelsey shares his experiences in Bangladesh. This episode also features Christopher Cox of the Human Thread Campaign who, along with Kelsey, was a featured speaker at DePaul University’s Fair Trade fashion show.
I was 28. I got engaged and bought a home and left the country to meet the people who made my clothes. I had a few small assignments that would pay me hundreds of dollars for three-months of reporting that would cost me thousands.
Nari was 25. She was living with 7 other young women in a room that was maybe 100 square feet. She worked in a garment factory making Levi’s. She paid a $50 bribe to get her job, which paid her $50 per month. She sent half of her money home to support her family in her village. She wasn’t shy.
Ai was 24 and shy. She was one of Nari’s 7 roommates. She missed working in the fields at…
One moment Reshma Begum was sewing. The next, she was falling from her station on the second floor into the basement of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh.
She lost consciousness. She awoke to cries of help that gradually silenced. Her clothes were shredded, everything was dark, and her hair was stuck in the rubble. She ripped her hair free and scavenged the dark crevices on her hands and knees finding four crackers, a small bottle of water, and the occasional puddle to quench her thirst. She probed her surroundings with a pipe for pockets of air.
This was her life. This was her living for seventeen days.
Was Reshma’s situation an unfortunate end to an individual pursuing real opportunity…
The worst thing isn’t that we live in a world where child labor exists, it’s that we live in a world where mothers and fathers who love their children send their kids off to work for the day because they have to. They have to rely on their income.