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Shafiqul Alam Kiron

Bangladesh

Photo: Shafiqul Alam Kiron

DURING my regular visits to the River Buriganga this particular bridge to Kamrangeer char often fascinates me. When the monsoon water comes, filling the river to the brim, children – all boys – are attracted to the suspended beams of this metal structure. The joy of a life infinite and with all the freedom in the world... It brings back memories of my childhood in a village with abundant water around it.

In city life children are stranded within the concrete blocks they call home. Adults forget that they, too, once had a happy life. They tell the little ones not to be too adventurous, always to be safe. I want adults to let children be what they are. I feel poor children at times are happier than the protected, privileged ones in the comfort zone. These boys made me feel like going back to the days of my childhood.

For a photographer there are times when you don’t think much: you simply rush to capture the moment.

Later I had a talk with the boys. They were all working children – they had money for themselves and to contribute to their family income. After they’d spent the morning collecting scraps from the streets and had sold their bounty they’d come for a jumping session. Who could jump from the highest point?

I work with my friends at the Map Photo Agency. We have been together as a team for 11 years now and work on social issues, advocating awareness through images. Going back to the community I work for, returning with the images I have taken and seeing the smile on their faces, is always rewarding.

By arrangement with Drik Picture Library Ltd

New Internationalist issue 366 magazine cover This article is from the April 2004 issue of New Internationalist.
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