Grameen Group’s Grameen Healthcare Trust and Japan’s Fast Retailing Co., which operates clothing chain Uniqlo, opened two new Grameen Uniqlo stores in Dhaka, Bangladesh last week.
Grameen Uniqlo is a joint venture social business aiming to produce affordable quality clothing from locally-sourced materials, generate new employment opportunities for locals, and reinvest profits into the business while solving issues such as poverty, hygiene, and gender inequality.
Before opening the two stores, Grameen Uniqlo had focused on door-to-door sales in farming villages, offering people living below the poverty line an affordable quality product.
Rural sales are undertaken by the borrowers of the Grameen Bank, widely known as the Grameen Ladies. Grameen Uniqlo supplies the product on a consignment basis and the Grameen Ladies earn a commission from sales.
In a related initiative, Fast Retailing collaborated with student volunteers of the St. Luke’s College of Nursing in Japan to organize a health education program for 450 junior high school girls in Dhaka. The program taught them about menstruation and how to use a sanitary napkin. For many it was a first.
Grameen Uniqlo has been selling a reusable sanitary napkin they had developed since 2011.
According to Fast Retailing, the new stores offer over 30 items for men and 10 items for women priced between US$2.50 and $15.50.
“We are pleased to announce today our next step in our long-term commitment to the rapidly developing nation of Bangladesh,” said founder and president of Fast Retailing, Tadashi Yanai, on the announcement of the new stores.
“We reinvest any profits to grow the business, and help to address challenges related to poverty, hygiene, and education. Our aim is to nurture independence and self-sufficiency, and to contribute toward raising the standard of living in Bangladesh.”
Photo from Grameen Uniqlo.
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