Eleven-year-old Sagira Ansari, right, rolls bidi tobacco with her family at their house in Dhuliyan, in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, March 18, 2012. Sagira Ansari, 11, is among hundreds of thousands of children toiling in the hidden corners of rural India, working in hazardous industries crucial to the economy.
Nearly every child in Sagira’s town of Dhuliyan works through the tobacco dust to feed India’s near limitless demand for the thin, tight cigarettes, known as bidis. Sagira and her family earn 75 rupees ($1.50) for every 1,000 bidis rolled which brings in about 7,500 rupees ($150) a month.
[Credit : Rafiq Maqbool / AP]
For some Pakistanis, suicide the only way to escape poverty
In the ten months to October of 2011, about 1,600 people decided that suicide was the only option, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The previous year 2,399 people killed themselves and poverty was a significant factor, but a precise breakup was not available, the commission said.
Growing economic pressures could push the suicide figure even higher in the South Asian nation where over one in five people live below the international poverty line of $1 a day.
Critics say alleviating poverty has never been a priority. In the 2011-12 budget, Pakistan’s government allocated 0.04 percent of spending for social protection schemes. By comparison, just over 17.8 percent went to defense, though some experts put the figure at 26 percent.
“I walked through the mirror to see what I’ve seen before – hunger and poverty, sad eyes of those in need and politics that promise no changes for the better any time soon.
I crossed into North Korea for the first time in my life to witness what should have been the distant past. I considered myself lucky; only my privileged status as an outsider prevented me from returning home the moment our plane landed and the first signs of grey reality were seen through the window of our plane.
This is not the place you want to be if you don’t have a guaranteed return ticket in your pocket.
I was on a trip with colleagues from Reuters Foundation’s Alertnet and two tough and experienced women from MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres). Our visit was approved, organized and tightly controlled by government officials but we would be granted rare access to rural places that the media does not visit very often, if ever.” Read here, article by the photographer, Damir Sagolj.
This photo essay was published on October, 2011, before the death of Kim Jong-il. All photos by Damir Sagolj for Reuters.
#1 : North Korean girls look through a window at a foreign delegation visiting a school in Haeju, capital of an area damaged by summer floods and typhoons in South Hwanghae province October 1, 2011.
#2 : Salvaged possession are left in a temporary shelter of Jong Song Hui, a North Korean woman whose home was destroyed in recent floods and typhoon in the South Hwanghae province September 30, 2011.
#3 : A North Korean farmer pushes a bicycle through a paddy field of a collective farm in the area damaged by recent floods and typhoons in the South Hwanghae province September 29, 2011.
#4 : A North Korean boy makes his ways out from a garden in area damaged by recent floods and typhoons in the Soksa-Ri collective farm in the South Hwanghae province September 29, 2011.
#5 : A North Korean boy holds a spade in a corn field in area damaged by recent floods and typhoons in the Soksa-Ri collective farm in the South Hwanghae province September 29, 2011.
#6 : A North Korean farmer walks through a village in an area damaged by summer floods and typhoons in South Hwanghae province September 30, 2011.
#7 : North Korean orphans wait to be examined for possible signs of malnutrition in an area damaged by summer floods and typhoons in South Hwanghae province, September 29, 2011.
#8 : Results showing the previous achievements of a collective farm are displayed in an area damaged by summer floods and typhoons in South Hwanghae province September 30, 2011.
#9 : An Industrial zone is seen behind a residential area in the North Korean capital Pyongyang at dawn September 28, 2011.
#10 : A North Korean farmer on bicycle makes his way from a field in the area damaged by recent floods and typhoons in the South Hwanghae province September 30, 2011.