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Sex workers in Bangladesh

Sex workers in Bangladesh

The two-to-three –thousand –square-meter area of Kandaportte Potitalow is home to 1500 prostitutes and their families. This place is all they know and it has its own micro infrastructure of grocery stores, teahouses,hairdressers, and doctors. The women themselves only know this other world through the men who come here; they know rickshaw pullers, truckers, businessmen, policemen and priests.Most of the girls who work here were either born here, fled here, or were sold by their relatives when they were between eight and ten years old. Low social status and a lack of opportunities for both education and employment, have forced many Bangladeshi women into prostitution or exposed them to other forms of sexual exploitation. An estimated 150,000 women are involved in prostitution in Bangladesh.

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Child labour in Bangladesh.

Child labour in Bangladesh.

To abolish child labour you first have to make it visible. Child labour has been forbidden in Bangladesh since 1992. 13 years later I visited a garment factory in Narayanganj, which is the centre of the country's textile industry. I took a picture of the owner beating a 12-year-old boy because he had been too slow sewing T-shirts. The photograph attracted a lot of international attention and made me determined to investigate the issue more fully. According to UNICEF, more than 4.7 million children are engaged in economic activity in Bangladesh. Many of them work in very poor conditions; some even risk their lives.


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Daily Risks: Living by the Tracks!

Daily Risks: Living by the Tracks!

Life in the Karwan Bazaar train track slum in Dhaka is characterized by residents living perilously close to trains that pass through their homes up to fifty times a day. Established after the Liberation War of 1971, the slum has become home to thousands living in shanties along the winding tracks. Despite the dangers, including frequent accidents causing severe injuries, residents like Marium Begum cook and live alongside the tracks, adapting to the constant threat. Many are climate migrants who moved to the city after losing everything to floods, river erosion, cyclones, and drought, seeking better opportunities despite the risks.


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Nepal's Battle Against HIV

Nepal's Battle Against HIV

In 2010, I embarked on a poignant journey across Nepal to document the profound impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis, particularly in remote areas such as Achham. At Achham District Hospital, Nurse Surja Kunwar highlighted that the migration of men to India was a primary factor driving HIV prevalence, exacerbated by a lack of awareness about safe sex practices and challenges in negotiating safer behaviors within marital relationships. Surja estimates that 5,000 Achham residents are HIV-positive. Approximately 64,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV in Nepal.

Despite Nepal's low overall HIV prevalence of 0.5%, high-risk groups such as seasonal migrant workers experienced a concentrated epidemic, with labor migrants alone accounting for 41% of all cases by 2008. Kalashi Vishwakarmas, pregnant with her fourth child, was the last to know that her husband of 10 years was HIV-positive. He worked in Mumbai, but she says she did not know what kind of job he had, and she never felt comfortable asking about his sexual activity abroad. In Achham, approximately 1,500 children were affected by HIV/AIDS, many of whom were orphaned.

My mission aimed to raise awareness and catalyze positive change in Nepal's approach to addressing HIV/AIDS, emphasizing the crucial role of specialized healthcare facilities and rehabilitation centers in providing essential care and support to those in remote and underserved regions like Achham.


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The Unseen Warriors

The Unseen Warriors

Dhaka's Scavenging Heroes: Poverty and a lack of alternative employment opportunities force vulnerable individuals into this dangerous occupation. The working conditions for these scavengers are unimaginably harsh, as they descend into dark and cramped spaces without proper safety equipment, exposing themselves to toxic gases, suffocation, and the risk of drowning or collapsing structures. The absence of protective gear also leaves them vulnerable to many diseases and endless infections caused by hazardous substances. Furthermore, these workers face severe social stigma and discrimination, leading to their marginalization within their communities and limited opportunities for education and economic mobility.




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SHIP’S GRAVEYARD IN PAKISTAN

SHIP’S GRAVEYARD IN PAKISTAN

The Gaddani Ship Breaking Yard stands as a testament to human resilience and struggle. Here, colossal ocean vessels from around the world meet their end, worked upon by an army of unsung heroes. These laborers, often from impoverished backgrounds, face hazardous conditions and grueling hours as they dismantle ships to salvage valuable materials. The dangers they confront, lack of safety gear, and exploitative practices highlight the need to protect their wellbeing and rights. Shedding light on this hidden world is crucial as we strive for a brighter, sustainable future for Gaddani's shipbreaking workers.


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Street children in Bangladesh

Street children in Bangladesh

It is estimated that there are more than 600,000 street children living in Bangladesh, 75% of them live in the nation's capital, Dhaka. In a country ranked 138th on the Human Development Index and where 50% of the population is living below the poverty line, these children represent the absolute lowest level in the social hierarchy, in the world's most densely populated nation. Nowadays the population in this country has increased, and the number of street children has also increased to an estimated 4 million.

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Mental hospital in Indonesia

Mental hospital in Indonesia

Indonesia has a population of 240 million and only 500 psychiatrists. The resulting treatment gap leads many to rely on traditional herbal treatments and prayer to alleviate mental illness, often thought to be caused by malevolent spirits. Almost 750,000 Indonesians with mental illness get no medical treatment and where they do patients are often kept chained, caged and naked small

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The Refugee Crisis in Greece

The Refugee Crisis in Greece

Out of the 65 million people displaced globally, an increasing number of migrants and refugees are passing through Greece. Numbers of migrants and refugees have been steadily increasing over the last decade, but in 2016 Greece saw unprecedented numbers of new arrivals. I spent a month in Greece documenting Refugees and their children. To closely shoot their life I spent awakening nights in the shore of the Mitilini, waited for boats to arrive and walked 20 km in the Idomeni with refugees while they were trying to cross the border. My experience was eye-opening, sad, scary, and often shocking!

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Plight of Rohingya refugee

Plight of Rohingya refugee

Extreme violence in Myanmar has forced Rohingya families to flee the state. Homes and fields have been set on fire; family members have been killed and the intensity continues. On 25 August 2017, Myanmar’s military and local militia launched a wave of “clearance operations.” This was allegedly in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army in Rakhine state that turned into widespread violence against civilians. More than 700,000 Rohingya people have fled across the border since August to escape a brutal military crackdown and have poured into Bangladesh. The momentum and scale of arrivals make this the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. 

 


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Rising Waters

Rising Waters

Bangladesh's Battle Against Devastating Floods: Every year, Bangladesh faces devastating monsoon floods that cause widespread destruction. These floods, exacerbated by climate change, cover large areas, destroying homes, crops, and people's livelihoods. Bangladesh's numerous rivers exacerbate flooding when heavy monsoon rains pour down, leading to more floods and severe erosion along riverbanks. As homes are washed away and fields disappear underwater, families are forced to leave their homes and move to crowded cities in search of safety. This increase in urban migration due to climate-related issues puts immense pressure on city services and underscores the urgent need for countries to collaborate and find solutions to these challenges.

Bangladesh's struggle highlights the severity of climate change, with communities not only losing their homes but also facing significant challenges in rebuilding their lives. As global temperatures continue to rise, Bangladesh's annual battle against floods serves as a stark reminder of the collective effort required to mitigate climate change and protect the millions of people whose lives are disrupted by such events.

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Nothing to hold on to

Nothing to hold on to

Nearly three thousand kilometers of railway track crisscross the delta lowlands of Bangladesh, connecting Dhaka, the capital, with Chittagong to the south-east and Calcutta to the south-west. The system was built largely by the British and began operations in 1862, more than a hundred years before Bangladesh became an independent nation. Bangladeshi trains now carry more than forty million passengers a year in three ticketed classes: air-conditioned, first, and second - and then there are the passengers who can't pay. These riders, many of them daily commuters going to and from work, cling to handles, crouch in doorways, perch on the couplings between cars, and climb onto the roof. I began riding the rails with my camera in 2006. I wanted to draw attention to the danger the stowaways expose themselves to; gruesome accidents are routine for free riders. 'There is nothing to hold on to

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Manila's Toxic Charcoal Industry

Manila's Toxic Charcoal Industry

In Manila's North Harbour, the Ulingeros family grapples with the harsh reality of working in a hazardous toxic charcoal plant, where they earn meager wages. The Ulingan area is known for its dangerous conditions, with many of its laborers, including children as young as six or seven years old, enduring the risks of the toxic environment. Despite these challenges, families like the Ulingeros persist in this perilous work, driven by the necessity to survive in Manila's unforgiving urban landscape, where economic hardship forces difficult choices upon its residents.

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Feet tells stories.

Feet tells stories.

Day Labors feet tell their tales. Thousands of men, women and children continue toiling in the open factories. Their muddy clothes, smudged coal colored skins and bare feet tell the tale about how everyday they are fighting to live a life.

I continue to search their stories of struggle about how they hope transform into despair. Once a labourer stopped me to take his portrait and asked me to take an image of his feet and said, ‘Show our feet. It’s enough to explain what we are up to.’


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Burning ghats in Varanasi

Burning ghats in Varanasi

The most confronting Ghat, Manikarnika (also known simply as the burning Ghat) is the place where the majority of dead bodies are cremated in Varanasi. Hindus believe it will liberate them from the cycle of death and rebirth. Indeed, you'll openly come face to face with death at Manikarnika Ghat. Piles of firewood line the shore and the fires continually burn with the stream of dead bodies, each wrapped in cloth and carried through the lanes on makeshift stretchers by the Doms (a caste of untouchables that handles the corpses and supervises the burning Ghat).

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Hell for Leather

Hell for Leather

Bangladesh's leather industry is worth over $ 1 billion a year and around 20,000 people are employed in the hundreds of tanneries operating along the banks of the Buriganga River in the southwest of Dhaka, the capital. Yet while this industry provides a livelihood for tens of thousands of workers and their families, the working conditions and chemicals used in the tanning process can have devastating effects on the health of the workers and a complete lack of safety and environmental regulations has caused severe pollution of surrounding waterways. Add to this the widespread use of child labour in Bangladesh's tanneries and the whole industry became yet another and dubious sector of the national economy alongside more infamous sectors like the garment industry

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A hidden tribe of Bangladesh

A hidden tribe of Bangladesh

The Mru people live a very peaceful life, farming organically, using only what is necessary, and living well within their means. The smiling, welcoming faces as well as the extraordinary hospitality of this hidden tribe in Bangladesh, made an ever-lasting impression upon me.The solitary, independent and peace-loving Mru people have lived in the Hill Tract of southeastern Bangladesh and western Burma for centuries – their small population being split almost in half by the border. Many scholars believe them to be the original inhabitants of the region. Mru prefer to live on the remote hilltops; even away from other hill tribes. Their villages are easily distinguished by sacred bamboo totems, presided over by guardian spirits

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Life on Fire: Victims of Petrol bomb

Life on Fire: Victims of Petrol bomb

Continuous strikes, blockades and extreme violence has turned regular expression and political protests into a campaign of violence upon the general public, forging innocent people into the victims of violent attacks. Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), Burn Unit doctors said that most of the petrol bomb victims were burnt from 20 percent to 40 percent of their bodies. At least 76 people have been killed and 225 people have been burnt in petrol bomb attacks across the country during political blockade started in January, 2015

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Cyclone Aila

Cyclone Aila

At least 275 people have been killed and millions have been displaced by cyclone Aila, which hit parts of coastal Bangladesh and eastern India on May 25th 2009. GMB Akash travelled to Shyamnagar Upazila, an area of Bangladesh's Satkhira district that has seen some of the worst damage. The cyclone triggered tidal surges and severe flooding. Several thousand homes in the area were washed away while agricultural land was swamped. More than 500 shrimp farms were flooded by five to seven feet high tidal surges in the affected area. Aid agencies are warning that a lack of food and clean drinking water could lead to many more deaths.

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Leftover from History

Leftover from History

This is not just a story of poverty and despair. Poverty is not all that holds them back. Every day, they are willfully denied an education, opportunities, a future, and an identity. This is the story of a people whose lot it is to only exist as numbers in ration cards, relief programmes and slum-arson stories. This is the story of the Biharis of Geneva Camp.

A community of over 160,000 people who have lived like animals for the last 40 years and will likely live and die as animals in congested ghettoes at makeshift camps and shanties all over Bangladesh. This is the narrative of the Biharis of Geneva Camp.


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HOME FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE IN NEPAL

HOME FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE IN NEPAL

The Pashupati Bridhashram (Home for elderly people) is the largest old home in Katmandu run by the government. There are 230 residents, 140 of them women and 90 of them are man. It has always lacked of funding for food. Several old aged homes have been developed in Nepal in recent years to rehabilitate the elderly people for their welfare.


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Living on the fringe

Living on the fringe

“Shame Akash Don’t show us these pictures. It’s a sin even to look at them.”This was the reaction of Jhomur, my cousin, to my story about Jibon a homosexual man living in my neighbourhood. Her reaction is typical. Religious beliefs and cultural standards of morality make homosexuality an unacceptable abomination in Bangladesh. The kote, as gays are called locally, are ostracized and thus live together in small communities. Yet social stigma is not enough to dent their unshakeable faith in life

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Rana Plaza Tragedy!!

Rana Plaza Tragedy!!

What to describe and what to write? All I could see were dead bodies all around me. A silent anger, unbearable pain and helplessness froze my finger to click. Besides dead bodies and each drop of their blood asked me to tape their catastrophic death memoir to show the people around the world how painfully they left the world. Those memories have been haunting me for a long time.

 The 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse (also referred to as the 2013 Savar building collapse or the Rana Plaza collapse) was a structural failure that occurred on 24 April 2013 in Savar, Bangladesh, where an eight-story commercial building called Rana Plaza collapsed. The search for the dead ended on 13 May 2013 with a death toll of 1,134. Approximately 2,500 injured people were rescued from the building alive. It is considered the deadliest structural failure accident in modern human history and the deadliest garment-factory disaster in history.


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Midnight Girls

Midnight Girls

Strippers and dancers are part of the popular night scene in Nepal. Located mostly in the tourist area Thamel, hundreds of clubs host both locals and tourists to strip shows, dances, and drinks. Each club has on average 30 to 40 girls working for them. There are the dancers, the waitresses, and some called the “date for a night” women. The dancers are young—many of them told me they are 19-22, but to me most of them looked like 16 or younger. At the change of each song (which were mostly Nepali and Hindi pop), usually a new dancer would come out on stage. Some of them danced in a tight t-shirt and short shorts, some in a tiny wrap around her waist and a bikini top, and others in long glittery skirts and heels. Their faces were covered with heavy makeup, and they all kept adjusting their hair during their dances. There are also 2 showers on each side of the stage with a little porcelain bath dug out. Apparently “dance in the shower” is a big thing in Kathmandu now


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