Promoting innovative textile re-use businesses

The “backyard garments” sector emerged in Saidpur, Bangladesh in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when local workers started producing recycled clothes for the domestic market using the scrap fabrics (“jhut”) discarded by mainstream clothing factories. Local businesses have since set up their own association, selling recycled clothes domestically and exporting to neighbouring countries such as India and Nepal.

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Garment worker Shakila at home with her sewing machine Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/GMB Akash


As well as being an innovative way to reduce stress on the environment by re-using discarded fabric, the backyard garments sector is a potential pathway out of extreme poverty, especially for women. However, businesses face challenges due to a lack of market knowledge, necessary equipment and skills, which this project will address by exploring how to improve businesses’ productivity and supporting them to expand.

Project name: Unlocking the potential of the backyard garments sector to reduce poverty and waste in South Asia

Where are we working? North-west Bangladesh; Rangpur Division; Saidpur

How long for? January 2019 - December 2019 (1 year)

Who is benefiting? Approximately 10,000 workers in the backyard garments sector

Project aims:

  • To unlock the potential of the backyard garments sector by undertaking an in-depth research study investigating its current impact and potential for growth

  • To offer hands-on business development support to people working in backyard garment businesses to foster their growth

Who are we working with? Our partner TRAID, who is funding the project.


For more information about this project, please contact

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