Born in Slum by Saikat Mojumder

Caption: Due to economical insolvency and lack of proper medical service, Sajila also decides to give birth to her child under the supervision of a midwife. Copy Right:Saikat Mojumder


Sajila is a working mother living in the Korail slum in Dhaka city with her husband, mother-in-law and three children – two daughters and a son. As her husband cannot support the family by himself, Sajila works as a day labourer to help out.

Our story begins when Sajila is expecting again. The poverty-ridden family could not be happy with the possibility to have more mouths to feed. Nevertheless, Sajila continues nurturing her hope to have another son this time.

Quite understandably, it was not possible for Sajila to have the extra cares or medical support an expecting mother should get. The family will starve if she does not work, so she continues with her heavy work as a day-labourer. This is definitely the last thing a pregnant woman should go through.

I began my photo shoot on Sajila when she was four-month pregnant. She lives in a small, suffocating and unhealthy room in the Korail slum, which is surrounded by a lake. As it is in most of the slums, there are no doctors or medical services available here. There are some midwives helping the pregnant mothers in the slum though. But their ability is very much questionable and giving birth to a child under their supervision is unsafe and sometimes fatal for both mother and child.

The death rate for pregnant women in Bangladesh is 440 among every 100,000; the highest in the world. The death rate at birth is even higher. Since 2007, the rate is 151 (either the child or the mother) in every thousand. Infant mortality rate is 61 per thousand. The reason behind these high numbers is that most of the births in this country is done by untrained midwives.

Due to economical insolvency and lack of proper medical service, Sajila also decides to give birth to her child under the supervision of a midwife. Sajila believes, if she has God by her side, she will make it safely, for all her three children have been born this way.

Her economical condition was even worse during her pregnancy and she even had to starve for several days. Still, Sajila did not forget to take advice from the midwife about the dos and the don’ts. Finally, on her due date, she gives birth to her child under the guidance of that very midwife. Without any modern facilities or medicines, in an unhygienic environment, Sajila delivers her baby boy normally. It might sound incredible to many, but Sajila walks herself home with her son only after an hour.


Saikat Mojumder is a Bangladeshi photographer, with a special interest in human rights issues and culture. He was born in Netrokona June 24 .He completed his graduation in photography from Pathshala, The South Asian Institute of Photography. His major photography works include GENEVA CAMP (where dreams are restrained), JEOPARDIZE FOREST, ANIMAL SACRIFICE ON DURGA PUJA. LIFE (born in a slum) His works have been published in local and international publication like The Daily Star, Daily Samakal Canvas fashion and lifestyle magazine, New Nation, Soudi aramko world, The Sunday times, British journal of photography.

Currently he is working in Drik picture library as a photographer. He worked as a photographer in Canvas and worked as a contributor in The Daily Star-largest English daily in Bangladesh.He achieved Ian Parry Scholarship as Commended 2009.


One thought on “Born in Slum by Saikat Mojumder

  1. Thanks Monirul bhai for post my photograph.

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