Bangladesh is a country the size of New York but with a population that’s 8.5 times as large - 165 million people live in Bangladesh, compared to New York’s 19 million. 1 in 3 people in the country’s capital, Dhaka, live in urban slums.
Dhaka Match Colony is a slum in the peripheries of South Dhaka. In many ways, it is the quintessential urban slum - inadequate housing, cramped alleys and piles of solid waste clogging its waterways. The slum, however, has recently been transforming itself.
In the coming years, countries and communities will bear the brunt of climate change. Future projections of the rise in temperature and sea level along with increase in natural disasters are feared. However, we tend to forget that it is the future generation who will have to live through these consequences. It is widely asserted that the poor, in particular children, will be most affected – greater physical exposure to natural hazards and increased risks of health being two of the main reasons.
Across the murky waters of Banani Lake from BRAC's headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh, lies Korail, one of the country's largest slums, jam-packed with over 40,000 people. I have always seen the slum from a distance, but knew very little about what goes on inside. Typically, slums are illegal land settlements littered with crime, invariable health-hazards and acute poverty. But what I saw recently on my first visit was beyond my expectations.