Portrait of the life of people in the slums of Bangladesh and India.


My first visit to the slums of Bangladesh took place many years ago. I was on a cheap, five stops flight to Bangkok. Biman, Bangladesh Airlines, almost never made it in one go and so I ended up for the night in Dhaka. “Visit Bangladesh before the tourists come” I read on a poster in the arrival hall. Bangladesh is no tourist destination. You don’t go to a place that is a synonym for disasters, famines and lamentable living conditions.

It was already dark and the slums were everywhere. People were squatting in the streets. Small fires were protecting them against the evening chill. Families were hiding under a piece of cloth or just lying in the street. The wall was used for hanging a precious jumper or trouser. At daytime everybody was trying to make a little money by cutting stones for roadbuilders, collecting plastics and old tins for recycling or washing windows from the cars around the big hotels. Children have no possibilities to go to school.

Though the situation is desperate, most people are in good spirit and positive about the future. A very striking thing is the social cohesion. Everybody is helping everybody. Family traditions are very strong and small children take care of their sick and distressed parents. These photographs were taken during several visits to Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong in Bangladesh and Calcutta in India.


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