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Human Rights, Economics/Industry, Poverty
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South Asia
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Child Labor, Bangladesh
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Child labor is a visible part of everyday life in Bangladesh. Employers often prefer to employ children because they are cheaper and considered to be more compliant and obedient than adults. They are also exposed to situations that make them vulnerable to trafficking, abuse, violence and exploitation. 
Md Shahnewaz Khan

2015 — student award of excellence


According to the International Labor Organization, in 2006 there were about 3.2 million child laborers in Bangladesh. On average, children work 28 hours per week and earn 222 BDT (about $3.30 USD) a week. The vast majority of children (93%) work in the informal sector which makes enforcement of the relevant legislation challenging. Many child laborers miss out on their right to education because they do not have the time to go to school or to study. As a result, working children get stuck in low-paying, low-skilled jobs, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

I have worked on this project on child labor during the last three years.  I am very much interested in those children who work away from their home and family. I wonder how they cope with their daily lives in hazardous workplaces like brickfields, aluminum factories, shipyards and garbage dumps.

I’ve started following Shafik (11) and a few others who work in a brickfield in Chittagong. His family lives on an Island named Hatia in the Bay of Bengal. Shafik works at Bakkar brickfield, as his father wants him to do. His father took 6000 BDT ($80 USD) for a six month agreement with a work master who collects children as labor from different villages of Bangladesh. I would like to document Shafik and a few other child laborers' lives, their family lives, their dreams and the undervalued labor of these children.

I need to spend fifteen days in India,traveling from Chittagong to Kolkata-Delhi-Kashmir to arrive in Ladakh by bus. My dream is to work in Ladakh, to show how children fight to survive within the beauty of Ladakh.

My working process is based on my own field research into the history of the particular community. In my work, I try to understand a person's background and to make a connection, without taking any photographs. For example, I spent six months with Shafik, who is the main subject of my project “Fallen Stars." One day, he asked me, "You have only one set of clothing, like me?" During the six months I met with him using the same T-shirt, pants and sandals.

It will take 15 working days, within six months to complete this project in Ladakh, India.

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Popy (8) collects garbage with her mother at dump yard. She likes to play with her doll; even she brings her doll at dump yard and play with it. Her mother always Censure for that but she never leave it. Anandabazar dump yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Md Shahnewaz Khan.
Azgar on the way to sell his collected materials from Anandabazar dump yard in Chittagong. He has been doing this from last three years. Anandabazar dump yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Md Shahnewaz Khan.
Often accident occurs at brick field. Shafik carrying brick with curt to burn in pile which is lower from average height and he fell down suddenly. Bakkar brickfield in Chittagong, Bangladesh.Md Shahnewaz Khan
Those child labors of aluminum factory still dream about bright future ahead. Aluminum Factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Md Shahnewaz Khan.
The substance of aluminum factory is very risky for the workers where they are completely exposed without any protecting gear. Shakil (12) covered with all those aluminum substance at the factory. Aluminum Factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Md Shahnewaz Khan.
Shafik and others watch video song on mobile, during lunch break at brick field. Bakkar brickfield in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Md Shahnewaz Khan.
Shakil falls asleep on his tools after hard work at aluminum factory. Aluminum Factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Md Shahnewaz Khan.
Poli (6) does job at residential house in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Suddenly she hears loudly a famous Bengali movies song. Which sound is come from the outside and then she can’t control herself to do enjoy. Without fear her master, a childhood mind plunge in dancing. Md Shahnewaz Khan.
Shafik was beaten by his master in brick field and he accused to play in working hour. Bakkar brickfield in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Md Shahnewaz Khan.
Sons of Foanindro Rudra (80) & Chinta Rani Rudra (75) live in Oman. Solitude & illness are now their daily life. Banskhali, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Md Shahnewaz Khan.