UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom stars in an emotional episode of Tales by Lightto highlight the plight of children living and working in slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
To kick off the series’ third season – which will stream globally on Netflix from 21 December – Bloom travelled with photographer Simon Lister to Bangladeshto meet some of the country’s most vulnerable children.
“I met very young children scavenging on floating rubbish dumps and polishing metal bowls in extremely unsafe factories in order to survive,” said Orlando Bloom. “Not only are these children in danger of injury or exploitation, they are missing out on going to school and the chance of a brighter future. For so many children this is a normal way of life, but what I saw is not a childhood.”
In the episode, Bloom meets 10-year-old Dulaly and 10-year-old Chan Mia. Both spend their days working in dangerous conditions, collecting rubbish at the railway line and carrying passenger bags at the boat terminal. Bloom also met children working 12-hour days in aluminium and balloon factories.
“Children living in Bangladesh’s urban slums are denied their basic rights on a daily basis,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh. “Rights such as healthcare, access to clean water and education. There are almost 3.5 million children currently working in Bangladesh, many in hazardous jobs that put their health, education and futures at risk.”
In Bangladesh, UNICEF, in coordination with the Government of Bangladesh, has established almost 300 Second Chance Education facilities in Dhaka and Gazipur slums, giving street children the opportunity to go to makeshift schools for a few hours per day, with a view to integrating back into mainstream schools. Children are also able to attend informal classes at a number of open-air schools. These spaces offer friendship, play and access to hygiene facilities, and aim to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse. In addition, emergency night shelters are set up in Dhaka to provide children with a safe place to sleep, nutritious meals, and access to support from social workers.
Created by Canon Australia, the popular Tales by Light photography series provides a window into the world of acclaimed photographers as they travel to diverse and challenging environments to tell stories of people, nature and culture. The third season, directed and produced by Canon Master Abraham Joffe from Untitled Film Works, takes viewers behind the lens and into the minds of three new photographers, each motivated to harness the power of images to highlight and inspire protective action for some of the most beautiful and vulnerable aspects of our world.