Angelika Kampfer took these photos in a region known by the romantic name of Sunderban (“beautiful forest”). The delta estuary
of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers lies below sea level and is
among the poorest regions in Western Bengal, India.
77% of the population are living below the poverty line. The whole region is
distinctly influenced by the nearby megacity of Calcutta. More than half a million
people commute daily in 124 trains and innumerable busses – all of
them incredibly crowded - to the metropolis and back.
In the Sundarbans there are hardly any schools and roads and
medical care is scarce. Especially after the monsoon major areas
of that region are isolated from the rest of the country. The situation
of the women in the villages south of Calcutta is precarious. Giving
birth to a girl is still undesirable as the dowry, which is due
when the girl gets married, may ruin a whole family. Women get hardly
any pay for the farm work they do. So it is essential that they
find additional and alternative sources of income in the villages in
order to safeguard themselves and their children against financial
problems. The “Katholische Frauenbewegung” (Catholic Women’s
Movement) of Austria supports initiatives that bring sustainable change
for the women and their families. Angelika Kampfer focuses her attention
on this expression of female solidarity, which across thousands of
kilometers and religious and cultural borders places women in the limelight.