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Real-life 'slumdogs' document life on the streets

By Emanuele Comi for CNN
  • Fourteen children aged between 10 and 18 from Dhaka have been chosen for a photography project
  • They use cameras and video to document the realities of their lives to raise awareness
  • About 430,000 children live on the streets of Bangladesh
  • By 2014 the number of street children in Bangladesh is expected to more than double.

(CNN) -- They are the real-life slumdogs who spend their days scouring garbage dumps to survive in one of the world's poorest countries.

Now some of Bangladesh's street children have another way to spend their days, thanks to a project by children's charity, Plan International.

Plan's "Through Our Own Eyes" project trained street children in capital Dhaka to use cameras and video to document their lives. Fourteen street children aged between 10 and 18 from different parts of the city were chosen to take part in the project.

Plan hopes it will help the children raise awareness of the realities they face. Presently street children are at risk of physical and sexual abuse by adults, harassment by police and have no access to education or healthcare, Plan said.

Taking part in this project provides them with new skills and gives them a better chance of gaining future employment.

Nova Shams of Plan Bangladesh told CNN: "We have seen a change in the children, they now have more confidence. They feel that they are also normal human beings and can do what they want to do."

Government figures estimate there are 430,000 children living on the street across the country. Nearly half of them are below 10 years old. By 2014, that number is expected to more than double.

Most of the children have no family and end up on the street through poverty. Many escape their villages because they have no food, while some have been the victims of sexual abuse, Plan said.

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