In Bangladesh, the nomadic community, known, as Bede community is a unique social group of people with distinctive culture and heritage. The Bede used to live, travel, and earn their living on the river. Nowadays this scenario cannot be traced much.
This photo series represents the story of a pregnant Bede woman named Dulary who already had four children when she gave birth to her fifth child and it’s a boy. During their pregnancy the traditional midwives of the society always guide them. They never visit doctors unless it becomes crucial. It is a tradition of Bede community that children take birth with the help of the traditional midwives. When someone has labor pain, a group usually leaves their work and stays to support the pregnant woman. Also, the other groups who go to work share their earning with the women who stay home. Such a wonderful tradition and bonding they share which makes them unique.
It’s true that the birth process is unhygienic and different statistics can be shown which will prove that the percentage of vaccination rate during pregnancy is low, children don’t get immunization properly, but this is the way they are leading their lives for decades. Among all the pessimism I found them happy. This is a fact that they are far away from all the basic needs but this is the way they are living lives for years. I wanted to explore the birth process in Bede community, who has survived against all odds.
The midwife is massaging oil on Dulary’s belly just to comfort her. For the Bede community, they feel that midwives are more reliable than a professional doctor.
During pregnancy the men help the women in household activities.
Passing six hours of labor pain.
The labor pain and contraction.
The birth assistant was giving water to Dulary.
Dulary was craving for the relief from her intolerable labor pain.
On the day of delivery it is a tradition in Bede community that a group of women do not go to work to support the pregnant woman till the baby is born.
The moment when the baby came out.
They are having betel leaf in front of the newborn baby. It’s true that the birth process is unhygienic and different statistics can be shown which will prove that the percentage of vaccination rate during pregnancy is low, children don’t get immunization properly, but this is the way they are leading their lives for decades.
The midwife is using thread for stitching which is usually used for stitching cloths.
The midwife is using blade for cutting naval of the baby.
First shower of the newborn baby.
After almost sixteen hours of labor pain, at last the mother and the newborn baby is taking rest.
All the siblings are having fun together. Dulary already had four children when she gave birth to her fifth child and her fourth child was only two years old! But for the children, it added a new era of their happiness.
About Farida Alam
My inspiration for photography comes from the people and my surroundings. I love to experience other cultures, meet different people from diverse communities.
I believe in immersion photography and spend months listening, observing and talking with my subjects over the course of a project. Photography has become a part of my identity – a force that makes me think, feel and understand human being and the human condition. My work on third gender people, “Reflection of dispersed soul”, hidden for years has brought me various international award and recognitions.
Recently, Social Documentary Network (SDN) has featured my work “Survived Against all the Odds”. Apart from that my other individual works has got me recognitions of various national and international arenas.
Currently, I am working with different social groups that are deprived of basic human needs. However, at the same time I am exploring their traditional lifestyle and learning from it.
I have completed basic and foundation courses from “Pathshala South Asian Media Institute “. Later on, I also participated in a documentary photography course of Counter Photo, another renowned photography institute of Bangladesh. Currently, I am pursuing Diploma in photography from Alliance Francaise de Dhaka. I am a lifetime member of “Bangladesh Photographic Society (BPS)”.
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All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Farida Alam. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.