Living on pavement : home in a homeless situation : a reality in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Pavement dwelling is part of floating homelessness, which has quite a significant existence in developing country like Bangladesh, among the various patterns of homelessness. Pavement dwelling is possibly the synthesized outcome of rural, urban poverty and failing of state provision, which is manifested through the number of pavement dwellers (14,999 according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics) currently living in Dhaka city. This large group of pavement dwellers are beyond any infrastructural framework and are deprived of basic human rights. They can not afford to rent a shelter even in a slum or squatter settlement. All these result in living without roof and resource. They are socially excluded and treated inhumanly irrespective of age and sex. Search for gainful livelihood is difficult for them as they are lacking skills and resources. This research addresses this urban reality of living without home by focusing on two areas, the `non-existent home' and the `survival strategies' of pavement dwelling, to fulfil the main objectives of this research. The main objectives of this research are to contribute to the livelihood of pavement dwellers in Dhaka City in Bangladesh, thus the purpose is to gain an accurate and realistic understanding of the lives of the pavement dwellers. This research attempts to investigate the survival strategies of pavement dwellers in their homeless situation and to search whether pavement dwellers acquire a "sense of home" in their livelihood process as a survival strategy. At the end, this research tries to know the role of government and NGOs from the perspective of pavement dwellers. Since this research seeks to know the unanticipated, it is an exploratory research of pavement dwellers' livelihood in the context of homelessness. The research studied mainly selective cases in Green Road, Dhaka. The primary respondents were pavement dwellers and the secondary respondents were NGO and government personnel. The primary research instruments used were in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation; and documents were used as a secondary instrument. The DFID Sustainable Livelihood Framework was adopted to formulate the Theoretical Framework of research. Survival strategies of pavement dwellers were found through the management of their livelihood assets after the identification of their livelihood assets. This research reveals that, although pavement dwellers have limited livelihood assets, they manage to cope with any given situation and adapt their living pattern according to available resources and limitations by the optimal use of their very limited capital. They gain their basic livelihood earnings as an outcome of social interactions with surrounding people by means of employment or charity. They create a sense of community by exercising intimate mutual relationships among themselves. They make their survival possible on the pavement because of their livelihood assets, their adaptation, their social relations, their communal living and above all their shelter. Even though their shelter is makeshift, they perceive and use it along with their open pavement as their own home. Their sense of home is not limited to the basic physical entity it is extended to the surrounding built environment of their livelihood activities and social relations. Thus the physical asset (shelter) and the social asset (mutual relationship) are the aspects of livelihood framework which constitute their sense of home. In their livelihood process, they receive some direct livelihood assistances from NGOs and indirectly from government too, which all helps to alleviate their poverty level and reduce their vulnerability context.
|Keywords||Dakka, Bangladesh, Pavement dweller, home, homelessness, survival strategy, social relations, livelihood|
|Thesis Advisor||Eerd, M. van|