Mental Health Training

We held the first of 15 training sessions on Mental Health in partnership with the LAMB Project a local NGO serving the most vulnerable communities in North West Bangladesh, with integrated health care. The session led by two of LAMB’s professional training staff covered the subject of Self Care and Self Esteem. The feedback from our staff of 100 was overwhelmingly positive, and we are looking forward to future sessions.

Fire Safety Training

Health and Safety in the workplace is of high importance to our team. We were privileged to have our local Fire Service training team on site for two days, leading us through in-depth Fire Safety training. Subjects included the causes of fire, fire prevention, maintenance and use of portable fire extinguishers, and basic treatment of injuries. The enthusiasm of our local fire brigade was infectious, and the team thoroughly enjoyed the training sessions, and our workplace is safer as a result of this. There continues to be very little evidence of Covid in our community here.

Bamboo Harvest

We are now entering our Bamboo harvesting season. We love our local Bamboo (or Baash) as the locals call it. We are affectionately known locally as “Baash company” or the Bamboo company. We do of course use a range of natural materials, but local Bamboo is one of our favourites. The variety we use is known Bambusa nutans, and it is available in abundance in small homesteads across North West Bangladesh. Over the years we have developed our expertise in sourcing from known local small farmers, and in doing so helped to provide additional family income for them

Handwashing Line

The impact of Covid 19 on our rural community in North West Bangladesh seems very limited at the current time. We are of course not medical experts, take nothing for granted, and have implemented best practice procedures in our workplace, but it does seem as though there is a natural resilience to this horrible pandemic in our community.

Feasting together

Once a year, in the cooler season, the staff team of Oasis Transformation Ltd go on a picnic along with their families. It’s always an event that everyone looks forward to with excitement and anticipation! Usually, a theme park in the vicinity of the factory is the venue for the picnic. A picnic is a time for people to dress up, forget about work and the stresses of life and let their hair down! Everyone boards the rented buses in the morning. A hired catering team join the party with large pots, pans, utensils and raw ingredients (which are loaded on the roof of the bus) and amidst, clapping, singing and much laughter, everyone sets off in their colourful finery! A pre-prepared spot at the venue is made ready with a tent, a little ‘cottage’, open fires on which to cook and large speakers to blast Bollywood music from…and the fun begins.

The first thing on the agenda is a delicious cooked breakfast already prepared by the caterers. This is followed by perhaps a game of football or cricket. There is some downtime after this for families and friends to explore the theme park and enjoy it’s attractions followed by a delicious lunch consisting of flavoured rice, lentils, chicken, fish and vegetables, all served fresh and hot on proper plates at tables set up for the occasion! One of the most beautiful things about the picnic is that the factory floor team, the cleaning team and guards along with their families are served at table by the leadership team of the business. None of the latter eat until everyone else is looked after. It is an opportunity to say a little thank you to those who work extremely hard and create the engine of the business – they are the people who embody both it’s energy and purpose.

The afternoon has a session of games and then a talent show and a raffle draw. The talent show is another highlight because we are never disappointed by what’s on offer and staggered by the poetic, dance and musical talent of some of our team! There is much wit and humour on display and it really is a joy to witness it being exhibited without inhibition! Towards the end of the picnic, to the accompaniment of loud Bengali and Bollywood music, most people dance together. When you watch every level of the company team dance together, women comfortable enough to dance alongside their male team mates, the able bodied folks dancing with those who might be differently abled, it is a celebration of what we share in common – our humanity… and our differences of nationality, creed, gender and ability vanish and all seems well with the world.

Ensuring good communication

Every month we have a ‘townhall meeting’ with our staff including those who are located in a remote village. During these meetings we share important business information ranging from sales to our Fair Trade practices.

At Oasis we value good communication which build trust amongst staff in the workplace and ensure all those employed, even in the villages, get a chance to contribute.

What our employees say…

We think it is important to hear from those who work with us and make our products. Without their work, nothing would happen and without our customers, their would be no work. At Oasis Coffins, we seek to ensure that all our customers get quality care and attention and in doing so are able to offer quality employment in an area of Bangladesh where it is crucially needed.

With Fair Trade Fortnight in the UK and International Women’s Day upon us, we have asked a few of our employees what their job means to them.

“The good relationships at Oasis create a safe environment for us women. We trust the men that we work with and the men we report to. We know we are in safe hands.”

“I feel safe working at Oasis because I know where the emergency exits are and how to respond during a fire. The monthly safety drills are very helpful.” – Rokeya, a female production staff at Oasis

“Oasis is a good employer because I am able to trust the people in the office. Trust is very important.” – Joya, one of our female production staff members

Standing alongside

Following the devastating floods to hit Bangladesh, our UK partner and distributor sprung into action to help raise money for those of our employees affected by the flooding. Many people in the Nilphemari district saw their homes flooded due to the unprecedented rains. With crops, food and possessions destroyed, the kindness of others is essential and the Oasis Coffins team are grateful for all those who are giving in response to this appeal.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jcatkinson 

 

Guaranteed Member of the WFTO

We are please to announce that we are now officially part of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) #GuaranteedFairTrade family.

Having been through all the assessment requirements, we are now a Guaranteed Member and are able to use the WFTO Label along with our current accreditation with Traidcraft. Having been recognised by both of these great fair trade organisations, we are pleased our customers can have an assurance that we work hard to make sure our business makes a significant positive difference in the lives of our employees in Bangladesh.

 

Ensuring Quality – Independent Testing

Oasis Coffins is a proud member of the Funeral Suppliers’ Association (FSA) and is pleased to be a part of the launch of the new coffin certification scheme.

As with many trade associations, the FSA will not be known to many, although has been in existence since 1939. The aim of the Association is to ensure quality goods are produced and dependable high standards are maintained within the profession. As part of this role to champion quality, a new scheme has been developed to ensure all coffins sold by FSA members are fit for purpose and of high quality.

At a time when families are looking to celebrate a loved-one’s life, choices are important and there has been a growth in alternative coffins. Bamboo, willow, seagrass and other materials have become popular choices and with new innovations within the sector, the need for quality is important. Whilst some may like the idea of tradition, others are embracing the new options. For us as a manufacturer of alternative coffins, it is important that any questions over woven coffins are addressed. As an active and recognised fair trade business, we take our duty to care seriously and welcomed the move by the FSA to introduce rigorous tests. With the main organisations which represent crematoria on board, a system is in place to push quality forward.

Having now had all our woven coffins tested, we are proud to say they have all passed and we will shortly start stamping our coffins with the new approval mark.

For more information on FSA or to see our approval results, please visit the FSA website