taking up the topic of my recent post “eyes”, just a bullet list of what it means to be poor in batticaloa, sri lanka (but feel free to put in any other place):

to be poor(2)

  • the husband (if present) works as a day labourer, earning barely enough to feed the family
  • the kids leave school early to add to the family’s income
  • you live on your own plot, but twice a year it gets flooded and turns into a swamp. so the romance showing up in the lead shot is just a temporary one
  • your daughter carries the daily laundry quite a distance. to wed her, you should save for a dowry, but don’t know from where to take it
  • your plot of maybe 100m² houses well and toilet pit, not a really healthy arrangement
  • when you are not in a specially affected group like the tsunami victims, you probable are poor and stay poor

to be poor(3) by careful usage of funds, our project could increase the number of donated toilets, and some families in puthur, batticaloa, now have decent hygienic facilities. to help them to help themselves, the beneficiaries were paid in installments and themselves contracted the work. this also created a good sense of ownership – and kept the costs really low. and the toilet now is the most solid structure on the plot, much better then the house…

fortunately enough, un-habitat’s programme “cities without slums” will tackle this situation in order to achieve a structural improvement.

to be poor

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One thought

  1. powerful documentary images it always strikes me as to what it means to someone to be POOR … I have known many a soul with tons of money who was POOR… in my eyes.

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