Angel in Hell – Part I


“If my images bring to life the haunting realities that millions of children face each day then this is fulfillment of my work. And if mine is the hand that blocks the scorching sun from their eyes – bringing shade for just a single minute, then there’s value in the work I do. I am talking about 7.4 million children who are risking their life each second to rescue themselves from hunger and poverty, a tale of those for whom we rarely care about. I keep asking:

Who is there to bring them in the light from their working- living-hell? Who will save these innocent hearts which will decline with time! Is there any one? ”

                                                                  – GMB Akash  

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Angel in hell (12)

I have traveled extensively in all developing countries including mine to document the use of child labor in factories. Years after years I have to wait to get entries to some of those hells which are only built to burn childhood in secret zone. I waited hours and hours beside the factory gates to get seldom permission to meet up those fateless kids. They never allow anyone to keep any documents or proof bearing things, but I did it by convincing factory owner. All time the heartless scenario, danger to get caught, inner emptiness frozen my finger to click. But when those children give a look with all the sorrow in expression God give me instant power to overcome anything of the world. & then my clicks never took a break.

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The factories as too dangerous for children. They are “gloomy, unhygienic, smoky” and are fading away the children’s lives.  I talk to the children in the factories and they tell me their stories, adventures and sacrifices. Their innocent smile can break your heart into enormous pieces if you stand in front of where they work/ live. My photos show the terrible environment they work in.  Wherever I go I find great insecurity of lives. No protection, no appreciation, no opportunity. Their treatment varies child to child. There is no specific rule of behavior towards worker nether any of the factory maintain any core of conduct. Generally teenagers get bit generous treatment compare to children. But here experience never adds up any extra benefit for them. All are struggling in their own way.

* According to UNICEF, more than 7.4 million children are engaged in economic activity in Bangladesh. Many of them work in very poor conditions; some even risk their lives. Factory owners pay them about 400 to 700 taka (6 to 10 US dollars) a month, while an adult worker earns up to 5,000 taka per month.

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Angel in hell (13)

My intention is not just to depict the children as victims of exploitation. I want to show the complexity of the situation: the parents who send their little boy to work in a factory because they are poor; the child who has to work to earn a living for the family; the boss of the factory who engage children also helping them otherwise, as if these children stay in the road they might take drugs or might become thief. I think it is impossible to abolish child labour completely in Bangladesh in the short term, but I do think it is possible to improve working conditions and to bring more children from factories into schools. I have been profoundly affected both emotionally and psychologically after seeing the repulsive evils of child labor.  I feel guilty when I eat good food, and I feel haunted by the children in my photographs. I hope to achieve justice through documenting these conditions and making people aware of what is going on in these factories.

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It’s positive when after seeing these photos people take a step, even realizing their situation can help. I believe many of us definitely indebted to them who are working for us in such condition. One day one by one we will all gather against such crime. Children will go to schools instead of factories. Yes, I am taking & I will until voices raise & hands come out.

Angel in hell (1)

“Can you exchange a day with your own child in the place of these children? Can you deposit your children’s labor in such a place for a day in return of $1. If you can’t, can you please do something for these children? “Wishing to help” is an excuse. Shame is a mild word to what we are overlooking. May our spirit wake up.”

- GMB Akash

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Angel in hell (20)

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43 thoughts on “Angel in Hell – Part I

  1. Will you give us instructions on how to help? It’s not enough to feel sorry for the children; that is wasted emotion. Please give us instructions on how you think we can ease the pain of these children.

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    • Once an 8-year old balloon maker told me, “I took some damaged balloons for my little sister; I have no time to play. I have only time to support my parents,” I realized at that point I should turn my lens on lives like her’s. So I move beyond documentation only. My goal is to bring whatever help possible to such people as these. To this end, I have formed a small, but growing activist group, comprised of friends and well-wishers who wish to personally “make a difference” – to break the circle of poverty that these lives endure. I have engaged in specific projects for certain groups: targeting slum dwellers/brothel/rehabilitation/child labour families and providing help for their long-term improvement.. I am not a NGO and I am not into any micro credit. I am gifting business to these people whom I photographed with my own money. A poor photographer like me can not do everything but can do something, can at least do a little portion of my part & I am doing such. If all of us can do little of things it can make big difference in these lives. Answering your 1st ques: My friend, you can follow my 3rd phase of this post in coming weeks.

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  2. Akash..my heart is crushed. What hope is there for humanity when we exploit and abuse the very people that are the future? I feel so helpless and inadequate….there are so many that need our help.

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    • My own personal feelings make me insane sometime.. I confine in my own photographs within all those miserable souls. Days & nights they are hunting me, their feelings cried inside me.. Which, I hardly can overcome.

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  3. Do you think of a concrete action that I could take from the rich country where I live? I would like to invest in the fight against child labor.

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    • Delight to know my hard work reflected, but more important is to present my experience with this issue. Yes, I want to publish also these works already feathered in many magazines, but yet I want to spread the essay to many more audiences.

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  4. Dear, your works make me feel proud and lots of thing to learn. As Usual this work (Angel in Hell – Part I) make people realize for our Angle (I hope).

    Like

    • One day we will all gather together against such crimes. Children will go to schools instead of factories, no more parents will sell their daughter in brothels, people will not destroy their own planet, sure we will become a human being one day, I will take photos until voices raise and hands come out, my friend.

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  5. “Is there anyone?” — that is the endless question I keep asking myself – for where are the voices for the marginalised? The same marginalised that most of us are instrumental in bringing such indignation to our fellow human beings. Your photo-essay is needed – to ignite the fire in the mouth for all of us to be cognisant of such atrocities on others, not just be spectators and voyeaurs to witness those faces, but, to be a collective voice in abolishing indifference to the many lives that are literally hanging by the thread.
    Needless to say, I love your lens as much as I love your heart and soul Akash.
    It’s my birthday (today) and really how can one think of celebration when so many lives cannot even remember their own birthdays?! My wish today is to meet with you and commence our creative work we had talked about many months ago…..do keep an eye on email as I shall be writing in next few days. Much love & light to you dearest Akash — you are a gem of a human ! (But, you know this truth !).

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    • Through designer sun glasses how many can actually see the wound of these child with intense emotion my friend! From these small solider I learn that we have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of our life. But when this hunger, frustration and vulnerability will come to an end!when! Dear friend Mashaal Thanks for your passion for humanity. Our collective contribution can bring a mere smile in the heart of these helpless children. Belated Happy birthday. Keep in mind, you are an unique soul and your light will enlighten the world. Thanks for your generosity. I am just a simple mortal, whilst traveling uncharted terrain, I am collecting gems from this ordinary life.

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  6. People living in rich European countries hardly think about the conditions in which their new shirt or pair of shoes are produced. Good on you for taking these photographs.

    I really hope at least one of the poor kids might be able to lead a better life. But to be honest, I can’t but doubt it. Many people might have a wish to change the world, but only few will go out and try. Most others (including me, I am afraid) will carry on with their lifes as long as the misery is to be seen elsewhere and not at their own doorstep.

    Keep your spirits up, Akash!

    Like

    • Once an 8-year old balloon maker told me, “I took some damaged balloons for my little sister; I have no time to play. I have only time to support my parents,” I realized at that point I should turn my lens on lives like her’s. So I move beyond documentation only. My goal is to bring whatever help possible to such people as these. To this end, I have formed a small, but growing activist group, comprised of friends and well-wishers who wish to personally “make a difference” – to break the circle of poverty that these lives endure. I have engaged in specific projects for certain groups: targeting slum dwellers/brothel/rehabilitation/child labour families and providing help for their long-term improvement.. I am not a NGO and I am not into any micro credit. I am gifting business to these people whom I photographed with my own money. A poor photographer like me can not do everything but can do something, can at least do a little portion of my part & I am doing such. If all of us can do little of things it can make big difference in these lives. In addition My friend, you can follow my 3rd phase of this post in coming weeks. & thanks for your words and glad to see light of your heart.

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  8. Pingback: GMB Akash - Herramientas PRL

  9. Have you evr considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and everything. Nevertheless
    just imagine if you added some great visuals or videos to give youur posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the
    best in its niche. Terrific blog!

    Like

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