Life in Gawair


The project explores the life in Gawair slum, using a combination of virtual reality and graphic journalism to share the perspectives of its inhabitants.

  • €18,050 Budget in Euros
  • 2017 Final release date
  • 7 Round winner
  • 1 Location
  • 4 Durations in months

Slums represent the worst of urban poverty and inequality, and Gawair, on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, is no different: the division from the comfortable neighbouring suburb of Uttura is literally and symbolically represented by a train track. Fitting, given the number (0.5m each year) of climate migrants fleeing there from uninhabitable coastal and rural areas. Lacking even rudimentary facilities for basic hygiene or running water, whole families share the same bed in a single tiny room, while open sewers run along the potholed streets outside and wild dogs scavenge for food.

A dramatic description such as this can set the tone, but offers little insight into the day-to-day challenges of the inhabitants, their way or life or hopes for the future. This project will compare and contrast the micro and macro elements by framing individual testimonies and immersive footage around several of the key sustainable development goals: poverty, climate change, cities, inequality, and water/hygiene.

Rina Akter, a mother of three, believes she is about 40 years old, but cannot tell for certain. She works alongside her daughter at a nearby garment factory. The father abandoned the family three years ago and they have been trying to make ends meet on their combined factory income since - about $50. The family lives in a one-room shack with a plank of wood as a bed. They cannot afford a mattress.

Now imagine that instead of reading about Rina’s stories in the third person, you could walk through the slum and experience a day in their shoes. Accompanied by audio excerpts from interviews as they guide us through the slum, readers will be presented with areas to explore that are thematically linked to the SDGs.

Follow us and join the conversation