Archive for August, 2010

Dhaka Mega City Post #19: Beggars at Eid ul-Fitr

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment
Today on my way to Mohammadpur I bumped into a crowd of beggars and poor stricken women crowded outside an upper middle class building. During the end of Ramadan, the tradition amongst those who can is to give a percentage of their wealth to the most needy. Inside the building I was able to see what is a common event but rarely seen, a woman was handing out 100 taka bills as the people outside fought in a moderate way to get in. Reminder 70 Tk = 1 USD

Dhaka Mega City Post #16: Friday Urban Prayers

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

While monsoon rain falls in the neighborhood of Kallyanpur, where the urban development has been increasingly fast in an area formerly known for its many ponds only 25 years ago and now developed into one of the city’s most densely populated areas, Friday prayers are held inside a construction site next to a mosque.















The community males here must rush to the mosque if they want to pray inside, in a clean environment as the Koran suggests, due to the high population density.

Dhaka Mega City Post #18: Garment Workers

August 26, 2010 1 comment

A young woman sews in the dark at home in slum in Dhaka, during one of the many regular daily power outages the city suffers. She is working during her day off from the garment industry, to help ends meet and pay off family debts.

The garment industry of Bangladesh has been the key export division and a main source of foreign exchange for the last 25 years. At present, the country generates some $5 billion worth of products each year by exporting garment. The industry provides employment to over 3 million workers of whom 90% are women. Bangladesh-based factories make clothes for international brands such JCPenney, Wal-Mart, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Zara and Carrefour.

Violence has erupted in the Bangladeshi capital periodically this year as thousands of garment workers continue to protest over a government-backed wage increase that falls short of demands.
The minimum monthly wage was risen to 3,000 taka ($43), up from 1,662 taka. However, some labour unions are insisting and calling for a wage of 5,000 taka. After the end of Ramadan, the protests and demands are set to continue.

Dhaka Mega City Post #17: Farmgate, the Beggar and the Rain

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

In a flash you could see the rain coming into the Farmgate neighborhood, one of the city’s central commerce areas. The water drove itself across the sky, across the road on to the pedestrian bridge. The people scrambled for shelter, the merchants covered their belongings, the beggar simply wetted it out.

Dhaka Mega City Post #15: Nimtoli Nightmare Revisited

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Old Dhaka is one, if not the most densely populated area of the city. On June 3, a factory, holding chemicals on the first floor of a residential building caught fire, spread and killed 123 people in one of the city’s biggest tragedies.

I visited that building today, because after several months in hospital care, victim number 124, Shahida Begum, 35 died today of her injuries, she had also lost her child in the fire. At the site I found Haji, owner of the building, now reconstructing. He lost 11 members of his family, including wife and children who suffocated to death unable to escape. Windows and doors are barred on all floors to avoid thieves entering but are also serious fire risks. Haji said he would normally have committed suicide, but life goes on and trees continue to grow. Asked if he would consider leaving because of the risks, he answered planes fly across the world, sometime they crash.

Dhaka Mega City Post #14: To Be A Child In Dhaka

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

I could sit here and give you a whole load of information about the amount of children that are homeless or malnourished or abused in this city that never seem to sleep and works all night. However, I think everyone can relate to having wet their bed at one point in the childhood and so this says a lot about living in this hard city as a child. Enough said.

Dhaka Mega City Post #11: Bashundhura vs. Mohakalli

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

On Aug. 05, 2010, In the Mohakalli area of central Dhaka, the homes of some 50,000 people were demolished after only being given a warning of eviction that would occur within 30 min. Hundreds of families who had been living here in brick built homes for years, lost everything. An MP responsible for the area and who had promised, in exchange for votes, that this would not happen is only to be found abroad and unable to return due to government pressures. Land is up for grabs all over Dhaka City as the urbanization continues at an unprecedented and unplanned speed.

In the newest development areas of Dhaka, Bashundhura, extravagant apartment complexes, tightly packed together haven been and are under development for the upper middle classes. This tightly urbanized area is the complete opposite of the rest of the city. Clean, organized, traffic controlled and with no sidewalk occupations allowed. It contains, in development, the third largest mall in Asia and is a direct urban model of self contained urban capitalist models where everything you do is done in a car.

Some win and many loose in this Mega City.