Bangladesh has experienced one of the highest and most rapid urban population increases in the world. Dhaka city has a huge population of 14 million with over 300,000 migrants arriving annually. But without adequate infrastructure to support the high levels of urban population growth, over 40% of the population in Dhaka are forced to live in informal settlements or urban slums and many others live in public places such as railway terminals, bus stations, ports, empty markets, parks and stairwells.
This means, of the 14 million people estimated living in Dhaka, over 5 million do not have a home or are considered a floating population. Life is very difficult for these people. People are overcrowded in slums and public spaces that lack basic facilities such as safe water, sanitation and health services. With no access to further education and training, they can only be employed in menial labor allowing them to survive day to day without any means of getting ahead. These images take a glimpse into a normal working day of these people.
In recent years, the prevalence of child labor has become a serious problem in many poor developing countries. Bangladesh, being one of the poorest and one of the most densely populated countries in the world; the problem of child labor is huge. It is estimated that there are 4.9 million working children between the ages of 5-15 in Bangladesh. That is 13.4% of the total work force in the country. Most of these children have no other options. Some are orphans growing up on the streets while others are forced to work due the economic hardships of their family. There is not much future for these children growing up and living in poverty and deprivation. Few will ever have the opportunity to an education or to learn skills to ensure a better life for them in the future. But just banning the use of child laborer in industries is not a permanent solution to this problem. In fact, this step is useless if the government and NGO’s do not ensure the economic and social securities of these minors. 40% of the 166 million people in Bangladesh make less then $1 a day and spend 80% of that income on food. With the rising cost of fuel and food prices, more and more children will be forced to work to help support their family and put food on the table.
About Larry Louie
International award winning documentary photographer Larry Louie leads a dual career. He is an optometrist in Canada and also a travel and documentary photographer who has managed to combined his interests to promote the work of different charities around the world. In his optometry clinic, he is Dr. Larry Louie, working to enhance the vision of people from all walks of life in the urban core of a North American city. On his travels, he is a humanitarian documentary photographer, exploring the lives of remote indigenous people, and documenting social issues around the world. As an optometrist, Larry adjusts people’s visual perception. As a photographer, he seeks to adjust people’s view of the world. Either way, he is interested in things that exist outside the regular field of vision.
Over the last couple of years, Dr. Louie has used his photography as a platform to high light the work of different charities around the world, along with other social issues and challenges people are encountering in a world facing rapid urbanization and globalization. He wants to engage people in inspiring stories of perseverance and strength, not only of those who have found themselves caught in such a plight, but also amazing individuals and organizations that are lending a helping hand. He hopes his photographs will be able to tell the stories and make a difference, and to reveal light that is found in the darkest of places.
Larry’s award winning photographs have appeared in the Asian Photography Magazine, Digital Camera Magazine, British Journal of Photography, B&W Magazine, National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler Magazine. His work have also been exhibited around the world; from the Royal Geographical Society of London, UK to the Circle of Fine Art in Madrid, Spain, to the Center of Photography in Charleston, South Carolina to the Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver, Canada to the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, Canada. [Official Website]