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.