Slum life in Chattogram
In Bangladesh, the majority of the slum people are unemployed and many others maintain their livelihood with odd jobs. The effects of the poverty is seen on every aspect of life. This people are deprived of basic reassurances and many government facilities. I have visited Sundarpur, Osman Colony, Dhumpara, Hujurpara and Jelepara (fishermen’s area). In Sundarpur slum areas, there are about 20 families. The dwellers reported the inadequacy of water and gas supply. Every 3 days a week, they get the chance to collect water for daily use of all purposes but it is not always adequate for them.
In Osman Colony, there are approximately 40 families living currently. According to Sikander Sheikh, the caretaker of Osman Colony, as there is no source of pure water in this area, the inhabitants use saline water from sea for the purpose of bathing and other purposes. Almost 5 liters of water is required for drinking and cooking, which they purchase having no option. Due to insufficient gas supply, people can’t prepare their meal for the day properly. This problems have been prevailing for a long time, but still it’s void of any actions. Nurjahan Begum(65), one of the inhabitants of Dhumpara slum areas has been in the place for for about 8 years. She also suffers from the same water crisis. According to her, there was a small pond near the slum but now it has become polluted by the mixture of sewage water.They are using saline water for meeting their requirements as the place is near the sea. Rustom(65) also lives in Dhumpara also complains the same. Nurjahan Begum’s younger son is suffering from Epilepsy. For that it’s unsafe for him to move alone.Now,having no other ways, she has to sent him for bringing daily stuffs. Her elder daughter lives near in another slum. Now, the family expenditure is on her younger daughter. Second daughter of her died being bitten by a snake. In Jelepara the community of people engaged in fishing lives. It is Hindu community mostly remains isolated from other community. The people of this place were not really comfortable in providing their identity but there were no objections in taking photos.They use saline water for all purpose but drinking. They have a tubewell from which more than 100 families have to collect water and gas supply isn’t available. The children in slum areas suffer from Dengue, Malaria, Jaundice, Measles etc.The sufferings of the slum people know no bounds. The place is unhygienic, children are deprived of education, people have no basic reassurances, they don’t have proper income source, but still they have strong communal bond. Juvenile crime, snatching, robbery, sexual assaults etc are a common occurrence in slum areas. There are more 3600 slum areas in Chattogram. People here, live a life below poverty level.
Roaming around some of these places helped me to know the life struggle of these people in a practical manner and my experience in documenting people says that, “Every Human is a story itself.”
Photos and text by Jalal Uddin Rumi