Outcasts of Dhaka


In 2018 I went to Bangladesh on a grant from the Danish Press Photographers Association to explore inequality and poverty in this country of 160 million inhabitants.

I decided to visit the lowest of community, the outcasts. Outcasts is numbered into 260 million people throughout Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal.

To be an outcast means that you are at the bottom of the unofficial cast-system, and that you have no possibility to advance up higher, as nobody in the other casts is allowed to help you.

In Dhaka I teamed up with an NGO that are working for Dalit rights, dalit is the local word for outcast.

Over more days I visited more communities and visited these people.

The Dalits traditionally live by the worst of jobs, cleaning garbage, draining sewers, picking up dead people in the street. The communities is often placed on government land and the dalits are often not allowed or helped to own their homes.

I was of course helped by the NGO and people was preparred to meet me and everything was nice and easy.

What stroke me though was the place and conditions of the buildings these people was living in. No private toilets, no private showers, no kitchens and very primitive installation of water and electricity.

Unofficially the cast system is non-existant, but in praxis it locks millions of people in a work-living situation they have no power themselves to change.