A Day in the Life of a Working Child in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A Synthesis of 25 Stories about Children’s Days

This synthesis paper summarises patterns in the lived experience of 25 children in Hazaribagh, Dhaka who went about a typical day in their lives.

Combining use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, a survey children completed via a mobile phone app, and ethnographic observations, children and adult researchers recorded locations, times of day, activities, and feelings. The paper brings into view the challenges that children in worst forms of child labour navigate before, after, and between work. The findings illustrate how children live in small worlds with adult concerns. We are able to see the range of responsibilities that they take on to provide for their families, and the poor treatment they receive from parents, supervisors, and people in the community, as they navigate their days. This is a confusing and lonely social landscape with little free time to spend relaxing in the company of their peers. Children find little respite from the excessively long hours that they work, the hot conditions, and the repetitive work. Many of the children endure constant discomfort, pain, hunger, heightened risks of accidents, sexual harassment, and violence. Poor home and neighbourhood environments amplify the levels of tiredness and risk. Yet in the details of all the varied and layered abuses and challenges the children navigate, we find clues for small improvements that may make a big difference to their daily lives.


Aked, J.; Burns, D.; Muhsina, M.; Kundu, S. and Zabed, A. (2024) A Day in the Life of a Working Child in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A Synthesis of 25 Stories about Children’s Days, CLARISSA Research and Evidence Paper 16, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/CLARISSA.2024.010

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June 13, 2024
June 2024
Institute of Development Studies
Jody Aked, Danny Burns, Mushtari Muhsina, Kundu, S. & Asif Zabed