Sumon Yusuf, Bangladesh

Bangladesh: The streets are their bed


No roof over their heads, no school, no access to health care and a family that no longer provides them with shelter and protection: In the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, children live day and night on sidewalks, sleep on benches, pieces of cardboard, bamboo mats. Or by the river, next to four-lane roads, in front of train stations, in the grounds of factories. Sometimes they have an old blanket between them and the pavement, sometimes a pillow of rags.

Bild 1 von 11 © Sumon Yusuf, Bangladesh
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Bild 11 von 11 © Sumon Yusuf, Bangladesh

It is difficult to estimate the number of street children in Bangladesh, but there are probably hundreds of thousands. According to estimates, almost half of them are not even ten years old. Their number will also continue to rise due to the continuing influx of impoverished families from rural areas. These children earn their money with errands, as garbage collectors and day laborers. They try to survive as beggars and pickpockets. 

In this city of 20 million inhabitants, photographer Sumon Yusuf walked the streets at night to document what he calls “sleeping beauty”. Yusuf sees this poetic title as an appeal to be aware of the dignity and bravery of children in the gutter.

Photographer: Sumon Yusuf, Bangladesh

Portrait: Sumon Yusuf
© Sumon Yusuf

Sumon Yusuf, born 1983, studied at the Asian Institute Of Journalism And Communication in Manila, Philippines. His photo series from Afghanistan, Pakistan and his home country of Bangladesh, among others, have been published in international newspapers and magazines, shown in exhibitions in the USA, Europe, Australia and at photo festivals in Bulgaria and Cambodia. Yusuf’s awards include photography prizes in France, Russia, Japan and the USA. He also files regular reports for Bangladesh’s largest daily newspaper.