Yea I'm alive

Mohammad Shahnewaz Khan

The older section of the population is increasing much faster than the total population. According to the Central Intelligence Agency (Bangladesh – CIA), in July 2014, population of Bangladesh is 166,280,712 &elderly dependency ratio is 7.3 per cent. This percentage of elderly population is projected to increase 8.0 per cent in 2020 and 17.0 per cent in 2050. Family is the basic source of care for the elderly population. In the traditional joint family system, elderly people used to enjoy respectable & honorable life in the past. But, the scenario today is almost totally different from that. The process of ageing is taking place when this family pattern is breaking down due to urbanization, migration, economic hardship, declining social values, self-interest, quarrels, maladjustment & so on. This changing situation & impact of other disadvantageous socio-economic conditions are causing problems & unhappiness for many elderly people, especially for those from the poor families. Most of them are seriously suffering from some basic human needs-related challenges, such as - employment opportunities, extreme poverty, illness accompanied by absence of proper health/medical care, food & nutrition, living arrangements, isolation, exclusion, loneliness, negligence, psychosocial & cultural complexities, etc. In view of the size of the population, scarcity of resources, poverty, insufficient health facilities & absence of strong social security, ageing is going to be a major problem for Bangladesh.

‘Yeah I'm Alive’ is about life of old age people, those who survive without the help from their family members. I started this project 5 years ago from my personal point of view, when my father was very sick & we thought he would not survive. But fortunately he gets well from the disease & tells me “I’m lucky, I have three sons who are always beside me to take care, God bless you my dear sons”. That time I realized those who are not blessed by their family members & siblings lead a difficult life in older age.

I have started following Vaggochronshingho (86), who is suffering from many diseases. He lost his wife four years ago. His sons live separately with their wives. He already lost the sight of his left eye & few percent remaining on right eye, in Anwara, Chittagong. I tried to document their painful & heartless unseen daily lives, to show the reality of our respectful senior citizens and create awareness to the society.

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