HELL IS REDAs one of the fastest growing economies in the Indian Subcontinent, Bangladesh is fueling a real estate bubble that is most visible in the capital, Dhaka, where new sparkling steel and concrete office buildings grow from dust every day.
Still, in one of the least developed countries in the world, bricks remain the most important building material. And they’re produced now as they were centuries ago, in hundreds of polluting factories in the outskirts of the chaotic megalopolis. Here, thousands of migrant workers -including some children- labour 8 to 12 hours for a few hundred takas, and many are bonded by debts in their hometowns. Those they owe money to own the factories -or have close relationship with those who do- where they work without any safety gear and standing the extreme heat from the ‘kitchen’ where mud becomes brick. With their bare hands, these workers ease Bangladesh’s thirst for new buildings to house the factories where many other thousands are busy producing.