Urban Poverty

The current economic crisis in Sri Lanka has adversely impacted many facets of society, particularly women in poverty in the urban space. The rising cost of living and the overall contraction of the economy have made these women increasingly vulnerable, and more so, invisible. The daily challenges they face are often overlooked by the State and ignored by the wider public, who are unaware of such obstacles and unable to help due to the lack of visibility.

Through this project, the Centre for Equality and Justice (CEJ) hopes to raise awareness on the unique challenges these women face, as well as provide a platform for young women photographers to document the lived narratives of these women. Two young women photographers were guided on sensitive processes of documenting human narratives, and then spent a month travelling to and interacting with women from different urban settlement communities around Colombo, including the Slave Island, Torrington, Narahenpita, Nawala, 60 and 44 waththas or urban settlements. The photographers spent time getting to know these women and were invited into their homes and communities to document their daily lives and raise awareness on the challenges they face.

The stories reflected in this scrapbook are the real accounts and direct testimony of women impacted by the economic crisis, and have not been altered or edited in any way. The women who contributed to this scrapbook remarked that they hope this project is successful in raising awareness on the stark realities of the impact the economic crisis has had on their communities, and hoped for proactive action from the State.

All stories and images in the scrapbook have been obtained and published with written consent to share. Written consent from the parents of any children featured in the scrapbook have been obtained. Names and details have been altered to protect anonymity where necessary.