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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fledgling Podcast Lands Interview With Major Bangladeshi Labor and Human Rights Advocate, Nazma Akter.

July 9, 2015
by Bill Quinn
I was so worried I actually researched and prepared for the interview.  

I'd like to keep the pretension that this is a professional operation.  But I will take a brief moment to let you know that I somehow landed a big get for the podcast here.  Early yesterday morning I spent some time interviewing one of the most important human rights advocates in Bangladesh.  You see, I have been trying to get in contact with NGOs in developing countries in the hopes of passing on their stories to Americans as part of a new project called NGO Report.  When I first contacted the Awaj Foundation I didn't quite know the size and scope of their work.  However after I scheduled an interview with Nazma Akter, the Foundation's Director, I learned that she is one of the most well-known leaders in Bangladesh and her foundation impacts millions of people.

In 2013 Nazma won the ASTRAIA Female Leader of the Year Award. Channel Four in the UK said she was leading a revolution and called her, "the powerful SGSF union leader who has risen to prominence through her defence of [the] country's female workforce."  Naturally, I was so nervous that I had to stop reading about her before I learned anything else that would ratchet up the pressure of the interview. Luckily, through the magic of audio editing, I have been eliminating much of my nervous stuttering and "ums."  And of course, Nazma was very friendly and open to answering all my questions which helped.

We spoke about her life as an exploited child factory worker, her personal story of being attacked by "goons" for protesting missed payments and the amazing organization that she helped build and lead that came out of those experiences.  I even had a chance to speak with her about the aftermath of the Rana Plaza tragedy, the influence of corporations in Bangladesh and why she won't run for Prime Minister.  Stay tuned--next week I will be posting my interview in three parts.  

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