A stunning photo series reveals the faces of street children in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is a lush South Asian country nestled between India and Myanmar.

It's known for its rivers, its hot, humid summers, and the immensely crowded capital city of Dhaka.


All images provided by Save the Children/Story Central.

It's also known for its widespread and rampant poverty.

In 2010, 47 million people there were living below the (U.S. defined) poverty line. There are many reasons for all the poverty, including the population size and a volatile political climate, but one fact remains the most unsettling:

Of the millions of people living in poverty in Bangladesh, over half of them are children who face a uniquely difficult form of it.

Not only do they struggle to meet their basic needs, they do so while being harshly discriminated against and treated as a nuisance.

"They are the forgotten children of Bangladesh," a representative from Save the Children told Upworthy. "[They are] often ostracized by the community and excluded from life-saving services. Many face a lifetime of discrimination, unable to attend school, find a safe place to sleep or enough food to eat."


In fact, these children are 2.5 times more likely than other children to be rejected from schools because of discrimination, which traps them in a vicious cycle of poverty.

They sleep wherever they can, mostly on the streets or in abandoned buildings. Some do odd jobs to earn pennies a day, and all of them have little hope of ever building a better future.

Cast out by society and forgotten, the world doesn't often see their faces.

Which is why Save the Children commissioned a powerful photo series about them, to bring their stories to light.

The photos are illuminating and stunning and show in detail what it's like for children to live in the harshest poverty with little chance of escape.

Children like Emon, age 10.

Emon left his home after being beaten by several of his family members. He's been on the streets ever since. To make money, he carries bags for people in the train station and works as a porter. He has no possessions and says he is often hungry.

And Ramjan, age 11.

Ramjan has been sleeping on the streets since his parents left four years ago. He sleeps in a train station where he says he gets beaten and taunted, often going to sleep hungry and afraid.

There's also Shohag, age 12.

Shohag has lived on the street for between three and four years. Most of the time he sleeps in and around Kamalapur railway station. During the day, he hangs around the station trying to pick up work as a porter, through which he might earn, at best, 100 BDT, which is a little over $1, a day.

And Hasan, who sleeps at Save the Children's own shelter.

Hasan left home two years ago after arguing with his parents. While sleeping in a train station, he was beaten during the night and also saw traffickers approaching children.

“When I grow up, I dream of having a job in the guards or the police,” he told Save the Children. “But for that I need to study. I will have some power — then I won’t get beaten.”

Selim, age 12, says that his main fear is attacks from the police.

"When they come, they blow the whistle [to get us to disperse]," he told Save the Children. "If that doesn’t work, they beat us lightly with their sticks. If we don’t move, they beat us hard. It feels bad when they wake me up in the middle of sleeping. And sometimes I curse them in my mind."

Tuhin has only been on the streets for six months.

He collects bottles for money and doesn't know how to read or write. "I can count a little," he says. "But I don’t understand money.”

While the situation for these kids is dire, Save the Children recently partnered with a local Bangladeshi shelter to provide a sliver of hope.

The shelter, run by INCIDEN Bangledesh provides a safe place to sleep for children aged 9-14 as well as food and outreach to give the kids a basic education.

It may be small in the grand scheme of things, but the shelter is one of the only bastions of safety and comfort these kids have.

No child should have to look at a safe place to sleep like a luxury, but millions do every single day. While there are efforts to improve their quality of life and provide safety, it's a brutal uphill battle that won't end any time soon.

As for the greater economic needs of the country, Bangladesh is crawling its way up and has managed to reduce the number of people living in poverty by 16 million in 10 years.

"Street children should not be forgotten and excluded from society," says Save the Children. "Their rights should not be ignored and more should be done to help them access mainstream society."

What's amazing about children, though, is that you can take away their homes, their sense of safety, and even their food, but when you show them a little bit of kindness and opportunity, they can still smile this big. They still have hope.

Most Shared
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared