Shehzad Noorani May 22, 2009Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bangladesh.
From the series “Children of Black Dust”, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Shehzad Noorani (b. 1966, Bangladesh) has a deep interest in social issues that affects the lives of millions of people in developing countries. He has covered major stories resulting from man-made and natural disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Other assignments for agencies like UNICEF have taken him to over 30 countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. His personal in-depth documentary work has been extensively exhibited and featured in major international magazines and publications around the world. Daughters of Darkness, his in-depth documentary on the lives of commercial sex workers in South Asia has received the Mother Jones International Award for Documentary Photographer. He has also received an honorable mention from the National Geographic’s All Roads Photography Program for his project : The Children of Black Dust.
About the Photograph:
“A woman holds her child, blackened by carbon dust. His nose bleeds due to infections caused by exposure to dust and pollution during play in the workshop in Korar Ghat by on the outskirts of Dhaka. Many women bring their children along so they can look after them while working. The environment in and around the workshop is full of carbon dust and other waste. Most children have chest and eyes infection. The industry employs thousands of women and children. All day long women and children break used batteries to get reusable parts and tiny pieces of metal out of them. Once separated, these materials are sent to battery manufacturing factories and workshops that either reuse them or melt them to make other useful materials.”
“While breaking used batteries or even playing, children inhale millions of fine carbon dust particles from the batteries throughout the day. Depending on how much work they do, each of them get between 5-15 Taka per day (US$ 1.00 = Taka 60). It takes a young child 4-12 days to earn just one US dollar. Children in these workshop face some of the worst condition of life anywhere in the world. None of the children go to school. Although they work hard and need nutritious food, they hardly eat much. It’s amazing that they still look happy and manage to crack a smile every now and then.”