Aiza Hussain


Tasneem works for a cleaning service at a Government office. Although promised LKR1000 per
day, she’s given LKR850 with no pay slips. When the contractor changed, she was issued a
new uniform. The cost is being deducted from her salary.
Tasneem rarely eats from home because her in-laws, whose house she lives in, consider her a
squatter after her husband’s death. All her belongings, including groceries, is locked inside one
cupboard. She sleeps with her grandchildren in the second-floor landing.
She eats from nearby shops.

B’fast: rice and egg for breakfast LKR 180
Lunch: two roast paans dipped in plain tea LKR 220
Dinner: roti or bread with gravy LKR 150
She has only LKR 300 to meet her other expenses. 
With no savings, or financial support, Tasneem lives from day-to-day.

Tasneem Read More »


Shahila’s home is a single room.  It is in central Colombo and is categorized as “illegal”. It was
built over 30 years ago and has legitimate access to water, electricity, and a tax number. 
She and her family face constant fear of eviction, with regular visits by state officials, law
enforcement, and the military— all of whom have repeatedly told her that her family is not
entitled to receive alternate housing. 
Shahila (32) is the mother of two children (8 and 4). Her husband is a trishaw driver and is the
main income earner.  They have not been able to make ends meet in the last few months. Her
husband has spent more time in fuel queues than on actual hires. In order to double the amount
of fuel they can get, they both stand in the same queue with the children. A few days ago, they
reached home at 2AM. The children were too tired to go to school the next morning and were
feeling ill from not having eaten the night before. 
Shahila has been actively engaging in protests with her community. The family comes to Galle
Face whenever they can. She says it gives them a space to share their anxiety. And hope that
their collective action will usher in a better future.

Shahila Read More »


Azaara is a mother of four children: Daughters 15 and 12; Sons 8 and 4. Her husband is a
trishaw driver. Azaara’s main source of income was cooking meals for the GOSL’s school
nutrition programme. She used to cook for four local schools. With the money the GOSL gave
her, she was able to feed her household too.
GOSL allocated LKR 30 per meal per child. This allocation has not increased for several years.
Azaara managed until early 2020, but has found it impossible to meet fulfill the menu plan. She
is frustrated: “We have to give something nutritious to the children – that’s the whole point of
this. A single egg costs more than the amount allocated. We can’t afford to do this anymore.”

Azaara Read More »

Sprawling Lahore’s Hidden Villages: Charrar pind and urban inequality

Sprawling Lahore’s Hidden Villages: Charrar pind and urban inequality     Lahore, Pakistan’s second most populous city, has seen unprecedented rates of spatial and population growth over the past few decades. Between 1998 and 2017, the city’s population has almost doubled to 11.1 million in 2017, compared to 6.3 million in 1998 (census). This massive

Sprawling Lahore’s Hidden Villages: Charrar pind and urban inequality Read More »