Somalia

An Aging Population, July 2007

Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries, with its millions of people crammed into a delta of rivers that empty into the Bay of Bengal. The major employer is agriculture, but it is unable to meet the demand for jobs. Many young Bangladeshis seek work abroad which means elderly people are abandoned to look after themselves as their children head overseas..

Bangladesh has the third highest number of poor older people in the world. The majority live in extreme poverty and are forced to carry on working well into their old age in order to survive; often lacking access to healthcare and other basic resources like shelter, food and clean water. Many are also victims of domestic violence; others are forced out of their homes by their children, and have little recourse for justice; yet others suffer from malnutrition. At present it is estimated that the number of people over the age of 60 will have doubled by the year 2015. The Government is therefore being forced to tackle the issue of its rapidly aging population through implementing a program of pensions, one of the first countries in the world to do so.

  • Aisha Begum is 80 years old and a widow. She has still not been able to access a pension. Kate Holt.
  • Aisha Begum is 80 years old and a widow. She has still not been able to access a pension. Kate Holt.
  • Hamida is around 70 years old and nearly blind. She is a widow and lives alone in a small shed. Kate Holt.
  • Shunda Bala is around 70 years old and nearly blind. Two of her sons have immigrated to India to work. Kate Holt.
  • Shunda Bala cares for her grandson. "This is all I can do these days because I can barely see." Kate Holt.
  • Shunda Bala washes up in the family's kitchen "I find it hard to do housework now". Kate Holt.
  • Chanti Bala is around 80 years old and lives in this small hut alone. Kate Holt.
  • Chanti Bala receives free medical care from RIC (a partner organisation of Helpage International). Kate Holt.
  • This is the average meal an elderly person in Bangladesh will eat every day. Kate Holt.
  • Shadan Chanedaey is 80 years old. His son has thrown him out of his house, and he now lives in a shed. Kate Holt.
  • Shadan Chanedaey is 80 years old. His son has thrown him out of his house, and he now lives in a shed. Kate Holt.
  • Sidik Ahmed is over 100 years old and lives with his daughter and four grandchildren. Kate Holt.
  • Sidik Ahmed is over 100 years old and lives with his daughter and four grandchildren. Kate Holt.