Faiham Ebna Sharif | Tea Workers of Bangladesh

Country of origin: Bangladesh
Project location: Bangladesh
Program: Magnum Foundation Fund
Year: 2017

This project sheds light on the plight of the tea garden workers of Bangladesh, who are bearing the colonial legacy of marginalization and oppression. It documents and narrates the over-a-100-year-old deprivation and inhumane conditions plaguing the social, cultural, political and most importantly economic lives of tea plantation workers who are among the lowest paid laborers, who earn just over a dollar per dayin wages. 

Originally the workers and their communities were brought by the British colonial rulers from Bihar, Madras, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and other places in India during 1840-50s, and they each signed a four-year contract that ended up obliging them to remain on the tea gardens for generations. Now with over 160 tea gardens in the country, there are almost 500,000 tea garden workers and their families working in the fields.